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Love City Brewing Opens In Spring Arts, Hopes To 'Anchor' New Neighborhood

Arts & Crafts Holdings' vision for turning the "doughnut hole" that was Callowhill into an eclectic community of artisans is beginning to take shape.

Love City Brewing founders Melissa and Kevin Walter at their brewhouse's ribbon-cutting on April 19, 2018

Love City Brewing, founded by Kevin and Melissa Walter, opened the doors of its new 9K SF taproom and brewery at 1023 Hamilton St. April 19. In keeping with Callowhill's transformation into Spring Arts, it is fitted into the bones of an old manufacturing plant, with a partially demolished interior wall separating the 2K SF taproom from the brewing equipment.

The brewery currently has 15 employees, with room to add more fermentation tanks in the future and to park a food truck in the back from Thursdays through Sundays. The taproom will also serve a small snack menu.

Love City began distributing kegs and cans to 15 bars in Philadelphia two weeks before opening, and its liquor license also carries permission to open two more tasting rooms down the road.

The goal of the beer, according to former Iron Hill brewer Kevin Walter, will be to taste approachable and unassuming without sacrificing quality — hence making the flagship beer, Love City Lager, a 4.2% alcohol Helles lager to "capture the PBR crowd," Kevin said.

"We want to bring beer to the center of the table, so to speak," Melissa said. "And it only makes sense that we locate in the center of Philadelphia."

Being the geographical center of a place does not guarantee economic advantages, which is why Arts & Crafts has been incredibly active in opening businesses close together to build a community of entrepreneurs and creatives that support and drive increased foot traffic for each other.

"A microbrewery is certainly intriguing because breweries bring people together, and it’s almost like today’s coffee shop," Arts & Crafts General Partner Craig Grossman said. "It’s a meeting place, the center of a community, especially in these secondary and tertiary neighborhoods.”

A relic of an interior wall separating the taproom from fermentation tanks in Philadelphia's Love City Brewing

The brewery also serves as an amenity for the three floors of office tenants above it, Grossman said. The 12K SF office portion is fully leased. It isn't the only microbrewery Arts & Crafts has placed at the base of an office building in Spring Arts.

Love City follows Roy-Pitz Barrel House at 990 Spring Garden St. into the neighborhood, and Triple Bottom Brewing is under construction right across the street at 915 Spring Garden. Love City is only a couple of blocks away on Hamilton Street, but slightly more central in the neighborhood and right beside a future portion of the Rail Park.

"I hope [Grossman] sees us as an anchor for this neighborhood; we certainly do," Kevin said, with Melissa adding that they are in discussion with the local community board for how to add their support. 

Grossman and the Walters envision working with the pop-up garden across Hamilton Street this summer, and Grossman has introduced them to several other tenants, both retail and office, including Chad Rosenthal of barbecue restaurant The Lucky Well and the owners of Roy-Pitz. Local design studio True Hands Society designed Love City's logo and branding.

"[Kevin and Melissa] obviously fit perfectly into that definition of what I was looking for: makers, small batch, passionate," Grossman said. "That type of entrepreneur is authentically Philadelphian.”