The Redevelopment
The History of the Pittsburgh Brewing Company

This Document First Published: March 31, 2017
Updated June 12, 2021

The Redevelopment

Into the 21st Century
The Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority claimed that the Iron City Brewing Company owed one million dollars in unpaid bills. The company claimed it owed $450,000.

Water charges are based on the amount of water coming through a meter. The water authority does not change the cost based on what happens to the water once is passes the meter. For the normal household most water is used in drinking and cooking. Yes, a good bit is used in bathing and cleaning but most of it does down the drain. Not so with breweries and bakeries. They use a lot of water in product sold and the percentage of wastewater is a lot less than a normal home. If a company had a flow meter on the discharge sewer a difference could be calculated and the water bill adjusted. Pittsburgh Brewing did not have such a meter.

2009 October 21 Demolition Process Begins
The Iron City Brewing Company applied for a demolition permit to demolish five four-story structures. The permit was placed on hold after the Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority protested as it was seeking payment for unpaid water debt.

2009 October 24
Iron City Brewing prepared to demolish five four-story brick buildings along Liberty Avenue at a cost of $500,000. This was at the time they claimed they could not pay the one-million-dollar sewer bill.

2009 December 2012 Historic Review Commission
A preliminary meeting was held for the historic designation of the Iron City Brewery.

2009 December 9 Historic Review Commission
The Historic Review Commission of Pittsburgh held a hearing for landmark nominations for the Iron City Brewery. One hearing was for a preliminary determination of eligibility and a second for the proposed demolition of building “F”, circa 1970’s.

2010 Historic Designation Approved
The Post-Gazette reported on February 4 that the city planning commission unanimously approved a historic designation for the buildings. City Council approved this recommendation on February 17.

2011 Ice House Demolition
The Historic Review Commission approved demolition plans for the Ice House. The building is one-story and renovation was expected to be $750,000.

Advance Builders was hired to demolish the five-story fermentation building containing 33 storage tanks. The tanks were in close proximity to the existing boiler house. In addition, demolition and salvage of processing, bottling and transport equipment was performed. The contract was for $1,500,000 according to Advance Builders. No date was given.

2011 March 4 Brewery put on Sale
The Iron City Brewing Company listed the property for sale or lease.

2011 March 11 Lawrenceville Corp Withdraw
Lawrenceville Corporation withdrew their involvement with the Iron City Brewing Company in developing a master plan for the property. The Corporation accused the owner with developing a parallel plan without community input. Realistically Iron City did not want to spend the money it would take to bring the brewery into the 21st century. Selling the property eleven months later brought them cash and removed them from a program that may never had ended. Other than keeping a presence in Pittsburgh by leasing space at the complex Pittsburgh Brewing’s operations were done.

2012, February Property Acquired by Collier Development
Keystone Brewers Inc sold the property to Jack & Jim Cargnoni: owners of Collier Development. The Iron City Brewing Company is leasing office space. Allegheny County Deed 14802, Page 326 for lot 26-A-300 with a date of February 1, 2012.

Lot & Block Parcels
26-A-300 Recorded February 1, 2012, Sale Price $1,725,000
26-A-140 Recorded February 1, 2012, Sale Price $1,725,000

Collier Development
5020 Thoms Run Rd
Presto, Collier Township
(Bridgeville area and zip code) Allegheny County, Pa. 15142
Tim Frew, Project Manager for the Iron City Brewery project

Allegheny County Real Estate has:
5020 Thoms Run Road
Oakdale, Pa. 15071-1702

Collier leased the corner office at Liberty Avenue to Pittsburgh Brewing Company.

2011 February 3
Collier demolished the icehouse, which was also known as the pipe house. The Historic Review Commission gave approval for the demolition after finding that the building was properly documented and would not jeopardize the site’s potential for placement on the National Historic Places. Preservationists argued against any demolition at the brewery site before completion of a master plan.

Collier proposed to restore the buildings along Liberty Avenue as well as the brew house built in 1884 and the keg storage building built in 1886. The site would have apartment, offices and a 100- room hotel among others. The corner office was being restored in 2019.

2012, June 6
Redevelopment plans are formulated for the property and Lawrenceville Corporation would become involved in the planning process giving the project community input. This lasted until October 27, 2013. First they had issues with Iron City now Collier.

2012, August 1 Unauthorized Building Demolition
Collier was cited for demolishing portions of the buildings without approval of the Historic Review Commission. Bizjournals com wrote that Tim Frew of Collier Development said the demolition was in violation of the rules but the demolition was unplanned.

2012, December 5
Cleared of violating
Trib Live News Story,
$100 Million Redevelopment Outlined for Former Iron City Brewery.

2012, December 6
A spreadsheet published in Building Pittsburgh by Jeff Burd gave the square footage of the buildings in the proposed redevelopment and for what purposes, rental, residential, etc. I am not repeating that here but I do want to identify the buildings as noted in the spreadsheet. They are”
Building A, B, C, E, J, M, Q, T, O (OR 0), 21, 22, 23, 25, 26, 27, 28 & 29.
Building F is not shown but was a part of the Historic Review Commission meeting on December 9, 2009. Obviously the spreadsheet only showed the building under consideration for redevelopment.

2013 October 27 Lawrenceville Corp Withdrawal 2
Lawrenceville Corporation withdrew their involvement in working with Collier Development citing Collier’s lack of cooperation.

2013, April 27 Arsenal Cider House & Wine Cellar
The property owners granted permission for the Arsenal Cider House & Wine Cellar to hold a cider and mead festival in the old Ober House. Arsenal is the first commercial cider maker in Pittsburgh and this is the city’s first festival devoted to cider and mead, both of which are fermented to produce an alcoholic beverage.

2015 March 4 Tunnel Demolition
A Pittsburgh Zoning Board hearing was held for Collier Development to demolish several tunnels (actually they were vaults) under Liberty Avenue that were collapsing. These tunnels can be seen on the Sanborn Fire Insurance maps (unknown date) that show them extending under Liberty Avenue. They were originally used for storage of beer but in recent times they stored electrical transformers and other non-brewing equipment.

2016 January Core Development
Core Development had a pending agreement to purchase some or all of the buildings from Collier. Core had similar designs for the property at Collier and this would have been a perfect time for Collier to exist. Much like Iron City getting out Collier could have walked away this nightmare.

2016 August Core Development
Core Development’s agreement to buy the site expired as reported in the Pittsburgh Business Times, August 10, 2016. Part of the proposed development under Core was t have the Iron City Brewing Co. operate a brewery-pub in the Oberhaus. The brewery would have been a test facility to brew small batches of beers for a test-run and to move to full production in Latrobe had they received positive results from drinkers. With the agreement expires so goes the plans for the brewpub. Iron City would have continued with their brewing license G25 and it would have included GP25 for the restaurant pub.

2018 August 1 Smokestack Preservation
Robert A. Indovina AIA (Indovina Associates Architects) applied to the Historic Review Commission for: Exterior restoration including extension to replace upper section of the existing industrial smokestack at the Iron City Brewery property. The extension is to made of steel but made to replicate the brick pattern that it replaces. The had not taken place in a site drive-by on August 25, 2019. 6:51 PM.

Transition in Brands and Property Ownership

2018 January Acquisition of Brewing Company
Cliff Forest purchased the Pittsburgh Brewing Company, but not the Liberty Avenue property. See 2019 August 15 for the property sale. Pittsburgh Brewing has 16 employees, including a brewer, but is involved in marketing and sales. Brewing is conducted in Latrobe, Pa. by City Brewing.

2018 Brand Relaunch
Pittsburgh Brewing hired Top Hat of Millvale, Pa. to perform a brand relaunch. Top Hat is a marketing consultant firm owned by Ben Butler..

2021 – Top Hat ventures into Brewing
Top Hat is opening a brewery in Ross Township, Pa. The brewery is named

2019 Office Building Restoration
The office building at the corner of Liberty Avenue and the Herron Avenue Bridge is being renovated. The roof is being replaced. Interior demolition is underway and renovations to the second floor is being performed. Collier was the property owner at this time but allowed Red Eye Real Estate to commence renovations.

2019 May 15 Façade Restoration
Red Eye Real Estate submitted pans to the Historic Review Commission of Pittsburgh to restore the façade to Building C & D. The main complex is made up of five adjacent buildings next to the corner office building. The first building next to the office is Building A. The application was submitted by Eric Phillips of Strada Architecture, 611 William Penn Place, Pittsburgh, Pa. 15219. Matthew Mazefsky represented Rosebud Mining. Mr. Mazefsky is Executive Vice President and General Counsel at Rosebud Mining.

2019 August 15
Clift Forest attempted to buy the property, and to do so before the end of 2019. Forest is currently renovating the office building. Forest currently owns the brands that are being brewed in Latrobe by City Brewing. Collier Development agreed to sell the property but the sale date was not scheduled until after Collier found a new location.

2020 January 15 Property Sold
Red Eye Real Estate purchased Lot & Block 26-A-300 from Collier Development for $5,000,000. See Deed Book 17914, Page 539. This is the main property.

Red Eye Real Estate purchased Lot & Block 26-A-140 from Collier Development for $5,000,000. See Deed Book 17914, Page 539. This is the triangular section of property between the main property and the Herron Avenue Bridge.

These two parcels are recorded on one deed but listed separately on the Allegheny County Property Assessment website.

Pennsylvania Department of State Incorporations
Rosebud Mining Company entry date of April 9, 1979.
301 Market St. Kittanning (Armstrong County) Pa. 16201.
J. Clifford Forest, President and Treasurer; James R. Barker, Secretary and Vice-President.

Red Eye Real Estate entry date of August 1, 2018
301 Market St. Kittanning (Armstrong County) Pa. 16201.

Cliff Forest bought the Pittsburgh Brewing Company giving him ownership of the brands. He then purchased the Liberty Avenue property giving him ownership of the brewery. His public statements were to continue repairing and developing the property, which I think he will do. H is interested in building a pilot brewery in the Oberhaus, which can be done, but since his announcement of building a large brewery in East Deer Township it would appear that brewing in Pittsburgh will not occur other than the pilot brewery. That could happen as he is interested in having a brewpub in Pittsburgh. Time will tell.

2021 May Construction Advances
In passing the complex in May it was seen that the buildings are being restored and it appears that Cliff Forest through Red Eye Real Estate is committed in developing the site.

People Involved with the Pittsburgh Redevelopment

Cargnoni, James, president of Independent Enterprises as well as Collier

Cargnoni, James, Collier development Co.

Dowd, Patrick, Pittsburgh City Councilman and Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority board member in 2009.

Frew, Tim, Project Manager Collier Development

Jennings, John, Assistant Director, Pittsburgh Building Inspection

Kenney, Michael, the Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority Executive Director in 2009

Lanier, Margaret, Pittsburgh City Treasurer and Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority board member in 2009.

Loy, Paul, Demolition Manager, Pittsburgh Building Inspection

Michaelson, Chad, Collier Development attorney

Peterson, Carol (d. December 17, 2017), Historian, Lawrenceville Stakeholders preservation committee.

General information about the redevelopment of Pittsburgh Brewing and/or the Iron City Brewery will be above this section.
Specific information on brewing operations at the Creighton, East Deer Township plant is below.
Essentially the East Deer Township section is a separate section.

Brewing Operations in East Deer Township
150 Ferry St., Creighton, Allegheny County

Cliff Forest has:
Created Red Eye Real Estate in 2018.
Owned the Pittsburgh Glass Works property since 2019.
Owned the Pittsburgh Brewing Company (but not the Pittsburgh property) since 2018.
Brewing of the PCB brands in Latrobe, Pa. by City Brewing.)
Owned the Pittsburgh Brewing Company property in Pittsburgh since 2020.
Proposed a brewery at the
Pittsburgh Glass Works site in 2021.

2021 February 3, Proposed Brewery
The Pittsburgh Business Times reported on February 3, 2021 that Pittsburgh Brewing Co. was to build new brewery at the former PPG site in Creighton, Allegheny Co. The plan calls for importing a new 100-barrel brewing system from Germany. Cliff Forrest, owner of Rosebud Mining Co., bought the Pittsburgh Glass Works plant in 2019. Forrest also has owned Pittsburgh Brewing Company since 2018. The brewery’s capacity is expected to be 150,000 barrels annually when it opens (expectedly) in 2022. The plant has capacity to expand production to 750,000 barrels.

As reported in the
TRIBLIVE, on February 3, 2021:
The company has plans to open an adjoining restaurant, outdoor event venue, beer museum and marina. With 40 acres available, there’s room for growth, though these additions are likely several years down the road, according to Butler.
Ben Butler was identified as a (unidentified job title) company spokesman.
This was also reported in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

End of Brewing Operations in East Deer Township