A century ago, the building was a factory that produced munitions for the U.S. military through the end of World War II. Dilapidated and in shambles for years, the entire Peters Cartridge Company in Kings Mills, Ohio, has now been through a massive overhaul and is an up-and-coming development.

The Superfund site – abandoned and covered in graffiti, littered with feral cats and running rampant with ghost stories – was cleaned up by the EPA, and developers got excited about what could be. Enter business partners Kyle Hackbarth and Anthony Cook, owners of Cartridge Brewing, an upscale brewpub that is now an anchor of the mixed-use redevelopment that includes apartments, a banquet hall, retail and more.

Helping make Cartridge Brewing possible are Viega products (ProPress and MegaPressG), hard at work in the background. The contractor on the job, Nelson Stark, is a dedicated Viega installer, so finding press fittings on the site is no surprise.

Creating new from old

There was plenty of work to do from the beginning to get this old building into shape for a brewery. Because the building is on the National Register of Historic Places, there were some things that couldn’t be changed and had to be worked around. 

Floors were opened to place underground plumbing for the kitchen and bathrooms. Drains were installed for the brew deck, and Nelson Stark also piped overhead water mains and gas lines for the brewpub.

“Viega is a quality product. It saves us time and labor,” said Russell Hill, Plumbing Superintendent with Nelson Stark, who has been on the project since day one. “We use it all the time.”

There was plenty of opportunity to incorporate Viega on this project. Nelson Stark piped the lines for the kitchen equipment, furnaces, boiler and two domestic water heaters. The actual brewery itself and all of its process piping was done by another contractor, but Nelson Stark did install the drains for the brew deck.

Plumbing work on the brewpub started in March, when research and planning began for the cutting and drilling necessary. Underground work began in April, with overhead water mains in progress in May. By August, Nelson Stark was hooking up kitchen equipment.

For the natural gas lines, Viega MegaPressG was used across the board, from ½” to 4” fittings. It was the first project Nelson Stark did with the larger-diameter MegaPressG fittings, and after first borrowing a MegaPress PressBooster, the contractor has since purchased a couple of boosters for future needs.

“It saved a lot of time,” Hill said. “Pressing gas instead of welding or cutting and threading – it’s nice, and I really like that. Much faster.”

As with many renovation projects, there were some challenges with the building – getting on the pitched concrete roof, for example – but Viega helped ease those burdens. The speed and simplicity of the connections made installing the necessary plumbing on the roof simpler.

“Sometimes engineered specs will ask for solder copper joints, but if it’s design built, we’re pretty much going to go with Viega,” Hill said. “All of our journeymen, foremen and superintendents know how to use it. We train the guys getting into the trade on how to use Viega.”

Though much of the plumbing is hidden, the 3” and 4” gas main lines in the brew area and service corridor are exposed. Hill thanked plumbers Joe Michel and Jake Weisbrodt for doing a great job in getting all the MegaPress installed.

The general contractor for the brewery is Furlong Building, out of Erlanger, Kentucky. Heading up the project were Project Manager Jeff Ward and Project Superintendent Steve Greis.

A unique history

For brewery owner Hackbarth, the opportunity of combining history with the future is exciting.

“Honoring the past, brewing the future” is his motto. The veteran said he is excited to bring back to life a community that has been sitting vacant for years, noting that it’s a “once-in-a-lifetime location” to be involved in.

Of course, the brewery’s name, Cartridge Brewing, pays homage to the building’s original occupant. The brewery will serve its own beer in its 10,000-square-foot taproom, plus it will feature a full in-house kitchen with an “elevated pub-style” menu. The location is along a bike path, so it’ll be an easy, quick stop for passersby.Given the historic appeal of the location, it’s also likely to attract people interested in seeing the “after” of the area post-cleanup. Because the buildings were so run down and dangerous, with rotten floorboards and empty elevator shafts, the area was policed closely until the EPA began its cleanup to rid the ground of copper, lead and other contaminants. Long a popular destination, the Peters Cartridge Company is listed on multiple travel websites as an interesting site to observe – from afar. Soon people will be able to go inside and have a beer.

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