County Seat Spirits Accepted Into the AEDC Business Incubation Program

Allentown, Pennsylvania – The Allentown Economic Development Corporation (AEDC), following its June 19th Board of Directors meeting, announced that County Seat Spirits will join the business incubation program, housed at the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center, later this year.

“We are very excited to have the Lehigh Valley’s first distillery choose Allentown and the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center as the location to launch its venture,” said Scott Unger, Executive Director of AEDC. “Craft spirits fits perfectly in the niche we have developed, that includes a craft meadery, The Colony Meadery, and a microbrewery, HiJinx Brewing Company.”

Pennsylvania has a long history with distilling dating back to the Revolutionary War and earlier; however, all of the Commonwealth’s distilleries were wiped out during prohibition. In 2005, Philadelphia Distilling opened its doors, becoming the first distillery to open in the state since prohibition. A 2012 change in Pennsylvania law made it easier for distilleries to operate on a smaller level and since that time, a number of successful distilleries have been launched throughout Pennsylvania.

“John and I are very passionate about bringing high quality spirits to Allentown,” said County Seat Spirits cofounder Anthony Brichta. “The Lehigh Valley is already home to some of the region’s finest bars, restaurants, sports venues, attractions, and microbreweries. Yet, the Lehigh Valley doesn’t yet have a distillery to call its own. County Seat Spirits will fill that void.”

“The market for high quality spirits is strong and should remain so for the foreseeable future,” added John Rowe, County Seat’s other cofounder. “The timing is right for us to get established in a growing industry and to be part of the revival of craft distilling in Pennsylvania.”

AEDC will spend the next several years providing guidance and training opportunities to the founding team of County Seat Spirits, while plugging them into AEDC’s network of resources and advisors, in a concentrated effort to help them grow rapidly into a profitable and self-sustaining company.

“The choice of Bridgeworks is a great blend of affordable space, knowledgeable support, and the synergies of being among many other growing businesses,” said Rowe in regards to their choice of applying to the AEDC business incubation program. “The availability of a location like this allows us to put more energy and resources into making our business grow and thrive, and to provide the community with goods, employment and taxes.”

“We scouted a variety of locations in Pennsylvania but in the end, we always knew we would end up at home in the Lehigh Valley,” Brichta added. “Once we found the AEDC’s Bridgeworks Enterprise Center, it really became a no-brainer. We couldn’t be more excited about the prospect of working with The Colony Meadery and HiJinx Brewing to add the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center to the growing list of premier Lehigh Valley destinations.”

Rowe and Brichta will spend the next few months navigating the licensing process at both the federal and state levels, while purchasing equipment and fitting out their space at the center. County Seat Spirits plans to manufacture both aged and un-aged whiskeys, vodka, gin, and rum. There is also a plan to have a tasting room that is open to the public on weekends for spirit aficionados to tour the distillery and enjoy cocktails made with County Seat Spirits products.

“The alcoholic beverages industry is fraught with regulations that make it tough for small companies like County Seat Spirits to get up and running,” said Anthony Durante, Economic Development Specialist for AEDC who manages the business incubation program. “We are developing a nice niche as a business incubator knowledgeable with this industry. Ideally, we will be able to help County Seat Spirits navigate the regulations faster and more efficiently than if they were on their own. This way they can focus on growing the company and turning a profit.”

Over the course of its 25-year existence, the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center, founded in the refurbished Mack Trucks Plant 4A in 1989, has helped launch more than 50 companies in Allentown that have created more than 300 jobs. Some of its current incubator clients include Gonzo Pockets, MTS Ventures and Zzyzx Polymers.

About the Allentown Economic Development Corporation

AEDC is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to a mission of identifying, encouraging, developing and managing strategic business opportunities for the benefit of Allentown, its citizens, and the Lehigh Valley. Its goal is to improve vacant and underutilized properties by assisting manufacturers, business owners and entrepreneurs in obtaining the resources and opportunities they require for success in the City of Allentown. AEDC offers access to financing and incentives, assistance with brownfield remediation, and support for growing businesses within the City.

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