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Victory's Bill Covaleski on the Xfinity Live! Victory Beer Hall

Victory's Bill Covaleski on the Xfinity Live! Victory Beer Hall

On March 30, Xfinity Live! will open in South Philadelphia, on the location where the Spectrum arena once stood. The newest addition to the Wells Fargo Complex will feature over a dozen different dining and entertainment options, anchored by a huge 24-foot-wide LED video screen. One of the restaurants on site will be the Victory Beer Hall, a large space full of communal tables that is dedicated to celebrating craft beer.

Downingtown, PA-based Victory Brewing Company has been an important player in the current craft beer renaissance, in Philadelphia and beyond. The company is known for its stable of tasty brews, and also for its down-to-earth integrity, thanks in large part to the friendly demeanor of founders Ron Barchet and Bill Covaleski.

We got to wondering how Victory would fit in with the largely corporate entertainment complex, what to expect at the new venue and how the partnership came about in the first place, so we reached out to Covaleski with a few questions. Read on for his answers about the origins of the project, what beers will be served and how the beer hall fits into his “perfect day.”

Drink Philly: How did the idea to have Victory as part of Xfinity Live! come about?

Bill Covaleski:
My oldest e-mail on the subject dates back to July 24, 2008, when I first read of plans for the Spectrum site. I was heartbroken for the loss of my first concert site, and reached out to Cordish Company to see if Victory might be a fit for the Philly Live! concept they had. It turned out that both we and they needed to revise our expectations, and so those discussions broke off eventually.

We lost focus on that opportunity until Cordish reached out to us again this past December. The second time was certainly the charm as a beer hall concept was now part of their plan. Perhaps our earlier conversations did have a positive effect, in that respect.

DP: How much of a hand will Victory have in day-to-day operations?

BC: The fact of the matter is that this is not Victory's operation to run. A highly capable team is in place there, managed and paid by the site operator. That said, we've been through two training meetings with their management team here at Victory already, and have two on-site training sessions scheduled before opening.

I am confident that this unique location and combination of capabilities will render a great guest experience. The Victory experience in Downingtown is created by a complex set of factors that really can't be readily duplicated anywhere. But our great beer is entirely transportable. We confidently believe that the beer will be the primary catalyst of an amazing experience for our fans, old and new, at Victory Beer Hall.

DP: Who will choose the beers to be offered? Will we see some of the specialty brews that are currently only available at your Downingtown brewpub? Will the beer hall serve other breweries’ products? Will it serve macro beers?

BC: With a line-up of around 15 Victory drafts, you can be certain that plenty of the specialty brews that seldom leave Downingtown will be flowing in South Philly. As the sports complex area has ample representation of beers from the major brewers, Victory Beer Hall's focus will be on distinctive beers, to create an ever-changing, quality beer experience.

Karen Noonan
(Victory Communications Manager): We were involved in guiding the draft selections for Victory Beer Hall. Guests to the beer hall will find a number of our Philadelphia-area friends on draft there. We’ve always been about supporting local, including other breweries.

DP: Are you worried about diluting the craft image Victory has built with your association with a sports venue and “sexy spokemodels”?


BC: The Victory beer experience cannot be perverted on the taste level, as the kegs roll right out of our brewery. We believe that what happens around those beers, visually and in all other aspects of perception, will create a wholly new, entirely positive beer experience. We have faith in our partner operators and so we are ready and excited as anyone to experience the results.

DP: Is this kind of branding collaboration something we can expect to see more of in the future?


BC: Craft beer has a bright future, if the recent past is any indication. Though we at Victory may have created some amazing flavors and brands, that's all we see ourselves as, as contributors. We did not create this trend. And all trends have agents of change who participate in the advancement of that movement. So yes, we'll continue to collaborate with qualified partners who respect beer.

DP: What are you most looking forward to about the Beer Hall?


Watching the Phils hang many homers in the night sky, then dropping by Victory Beer Hall for a St. Boisterous and Prima Pils and chatting with some thirsty folk, and then using the Broad Street line and SEPTA to head home. You know, your basic 'perfect night.'

Photos via Victory Beer Hall on Facebook

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