Craft Industry Losses a Pioneer

Tom Pastorius, who founded the Pennsylvania Brewing Co., died Thursday of prostate cancer at the age of 67.

Known for his love of German lagers, Tom founded the Penn Brewery with his wife Mary Beth in 1986 producing classics such as Penn Dark, Penn Pilsner, and other German styles. Known throughout the industry, Tom developed a love of beer in Germany where he spent time in the Army in the 1960s and again in the 1980s as a businessman.

Prior to opening the brewery, Tom first started brewing his recipes under contract at the Pittsburgh Brewing Company. At the time, Pennisvania did not allow brewpubs. Pastorius successfully lobbying Pennsylvania legislators and had the law changed, opening the doors for future brewpubs in the state.

Once the law was passed, Pastorius, in conjunction with the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation, he began restoring the former Eberhardt and Ober Brewery on the North Side of Pittsburgh. Pastorius hired German Brewmaster Alex Deml to oversee construction of the 30,000 barrel-a-year capacity brewing facility, which included custom built equipment imported from Germany.

Penn Brewing won gold and bronze medals at the 2008 Great American Beer Festival for its Kaiser Pils and Oktoberfest.