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Voodoo Brewery to open in New Kensington

Updated: May 20, 2020

Tom Davidson| Tuesday, April 30, 2019 11:32 a.m.

Tom Davidson - Tribune Review

New Kensington officials are excited to use a little voodoo brew to help revitalize the city’s downtown corridor.

Meadville-based Voodoo Brewery will open a brew pub by fall on Fifth Avenue in the city, according to a joint announcement Tuesday by Mayor Tom Guzzo and one of Voodoo’s owners, Jake Voelker.

“We like challenging, cool projects that are part of a community on the rise. This is a town we will flourish in,” Voelker said. “We are beyond excited to be involved in this community’s ongoing transformation.”

Guzzo, in turn, was excited to welcome the brewery to a historic building in the midst of its target area of revitalization, the former Ritz Theater at 956 Fifth Ave.

In addition to about 5,000 square feet of indoor space, the location will also have an outdoor area, Voelker said. It will employ as many as 20 people.

“In our continued efforts to revitalize and re-envision our downtown area, this venture certainly helps us to create a sense of place,” Guzzo said.

The city wants to add places like Voodoo as it works to reinvent itself, Guzzo said.

“We also want the area to have an entertainment (district) and nice establishments like Voodoo Brewery. That’s really exciting for us,” he said. Voodoo’s closest location is in Homestead and it also has locations in Erie, Grove City, Meadville, Lancaster and State College, with another planned in Washington, D.C., according to its website.

“I’m impressed with what Voodoo has done in other communities that they are already in,” Guzzo said.

A public hearing will be held at 7 p.m. May 6 for the transfer of the liquor license Voodoo will be using at the New Kensington location, which is owned by Ridgeview Enterprises LLC of Ligonier. After the hearing, council will vote on a resolution approving the transfer of the license.

Guzzo said he was not aware of any opposition to the transfer.

There’s a lot of work that needs to be done to the building, Voelker said, and many of the details about the location’s menu and design haven’t been finalized. It will be “eclectic in Voodoo style,” Voelker said.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun, we’re excited about it,” he said. “I think the building is super cool and super eclectic.”

The brewery will be active in the community and in other efforts to revitalize New Kensington, Voelker said.

Voodoo will be launching a Facebook page and other social media accounts for the New Kensington location soon, Voelker said.

"His (Voelker’s) ideas fit right into what we’re looking for,” Guzzo said.

Tom Davidson is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tom at 724-226-4715, or via Twitter .

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