Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Beer Is Near: Harris Family gets zoning OK to open nanobrewery

Harris Family Brewery’s Shaun Harris, Tim White and JT Thomas.

In a few months, you should be able to buy a fresh Harris Family beer straight from the tap.

That’s the good news.

However, it won’t be from the Harrisburg-based craft brewers own taps—at least not for now.

On Monday night, the city Zoning Hearing Board gave its unanimous approval for a zoning variance, allowing the company to begin brewing soon out of an industrial building at 1721 Holly St. on Allison Hill.

Co-owner Shaun Harris said that he expects to start operating sometime in early 2020, once he gets the final go-ahead from the PA Liquor Control Board.

The company, though, will begin as a wholesale-only brewer, meaning that it’ll make beer for other locations to serve. Harris said that they plan to operate as a “nanobrewery,” producing fewer than 500 barrels for the first year.

“Our operation is going to be very small at first,” Harris said.

The company, which would be the first black-owned brewery in Pennsylvania, will occupy less than 30 percent of the squat, brick industrial building on the corner of Holly and S. 18th streets, Harris said.

He said that the company will focus initially on supplying bars and restaurants in Harrisburg, especially in their home area.

“We want to begin serving around Allison Hill and then branch out from there to anybody who wants it,” Harris said.

Originally, the company, which includes co-owners Tim White and JT Thomas, had eyed a snug, second-floor area above a laundromat at 13th and Market streets for a brewery and small taproom. That plan, however, had logistical and space problems, Harris said. So, they decided to proceed more incrementally.

The new plan includes producing a limited quantity of beer on a wholesale basis. They would then grow that operation while continuing to search for—and save up for—a larger, permanent home with a taproom.

“Our next location is where we’ll actually be serving the product,” Harris said.

At the meeting, Zoning Board members had questions about deliveries, refuse and hours of operations. However, in the end, they seemed satisfied that the small brewery would fit into the mixed commercial/residential area.

“The building already is an industrial-use building. It’s along the historically industrial corridor,” Harris told the board. “Our use isn’t going to change anything in the neighborhood.”

For more information about Harris Family Brewery, visit their website or Facebook page.

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