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Penguin City Beer gets DOPE as first downtown Youngstown tenant

YOUNGSTOWN — Penguin City Beer has its first tenant at the downtown warehouse it bought in December.

Hannah Ferguson, of D.O.P.E Cider House & Winery, will be leasing a 1,000-square-foot production facility and tasting room housed next to the warehouse, the former Republic warehouse at 460 E. Federal St.

Ferguson of Youngstown, an assistant brewer at Modern Methods Brewery in Warren, now will be the head brewer at her own facility. She is the only black woman brewer in Ohio.

Aspasia Lyras-Bernacki, Penguin City Beer co-owner, called the partnership a “slam dunk.”

“When I showed her the space, I knew she found her dream spot,” Lyras-Bernacki said. “Our facility is more than Penguin City Beer; we are a part of the community, and we want to show that working together and helping each other out will build us all up and make our city stronger.”

Ferguson started D.O.P.E. (Dwelling On Positive Energy) Brands in 2017. She started making wine as a home winemaker back in 2013 and decided to pursue it professionally when she completed the WE Create and WE Launch program at the Youngstown Business Incubator.

She collaborated with Sundog Cellars in July 2020 with DOPE cider, a blend of strawberry, coconut and pineapple that’s periodically on tap at Sundog and Homestead restaurant in Columbiana.

Ten percent of sales goes to D.O.P.E. Brands LLC. When the cider house opens, Ferguson plans to have eight ciders on tap and four varieties of wine.

“Honestly, this has been very emotional for me. I have been trying, unsuccessfully, for years to get my business going, and just when I felt like giving up, this opportunity presented itself,” Ferguson said.

Penguin City will help Ferguson with branding and distribution in the Mahoning Valley. Ferguson also will help at Penguin City.

Penguin City bought the 32,704-square-foot warehouse with plans to invest $3.7 million to relocate its production line and open a taproom / restaurant, event center and rental space.

business@tribtoday.com

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