Philly Beer

Triple Bottom Brewing is bringing beer + social justice to Spring Arts

This sets up the neighborhood as a serious beer destination.

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Danya Henninger / Billy Penn
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David Lynch called it the Eraserhood. Developers have called it the doughnut hole. But over the past couple of years, a pocket of that identity-challenged area (officially called Callowhill) has been building a robust profile as the Spring Arts District — and is on the way to becoming a true beer destination.

Triple Bottom Brewing, which announced itself to the world back in Dec. 2016, has finally found a home.

The location, a former Reading Railroad building at 915 Spring Garden St, places Triple Bottom smack in the middle the Spring Arts District — and directly across the street from one existing brewery operation (Roy-Pitz), two blocks from another (Love City), and four blocks from a third (Yards).

That’s actually great, said Tess Hart, the 31-year-old Haverford native behind the project, explaining that she and her partners take the “rising tide lifts all boats” perspective.

“We’ve gotten to know Love City pretty well,” Hart said. “Roy-Pitz, too.” The area hasn’t been on the radar recently for a lot of people, she noted, “so having this sort of density of cool places to go…at this point, the more the merrier.”

Triple Bottom won’t actually be open for a while, she admits, refusing to even estimate a launch date after getting burned on a previous location that fell through. But construction work has begun.

In some ways, the brewery will be what you’d expect of a modern, small, craft-focused operation. Brewing will be handled by an industry vet, Stone and Weyerbacher alum Kyle Carney. He’ll work with a 10-barrel system to brew on site. Beers will be served at the taproom, along with a small menu of food.

The project also has some unusual components that stem from its social justice mission.

The brewery’s name comes from its focus on a “triple bottom line” that measures impact on “beer, people and the planet.” The last part refers to environmentalism, which the brewery will support by using as many local ingredients as possible.

But it’s the middle word — people — that really makes Triple Bottom stand apart. Building on existing relationships with Project HOME and PowerCorps PHL, the brewery will provide jobs for people who have faced barriers to employment. The effort goes beyond just getting folks on the payroll; it extends to every facet of the business.

Employees will have access to a small area set apart from the rest of operations. There, people will be able to use a washer and dryer, take showers, cook food or simply hang out and relax.

“People who have faced trauma tend to be easily overwhelmed,” Hart explained, “so we wanted to make sure they had a place to take a break.”

Overall work policies will also reflect the mixed makeup of the staff. The employee handbook, for example, will be formulated to be accessible to those at lower literacy levels, and onboarding will include inclusiveness training.

“We’re working with advisors to figure out how to build a culture that’s inclusive, supportive and builds empathy,” Hart said, “and will then work to maintain that sense of inclusiveness.” In theory, that won’t just benefit staff, it’ll make the taproom a more welcoming place overall. “We think it’ll have a ripple effect on how we engage with customers.”

The former Reading Railroad building (which, btw, is attached to the part of the raised tracks that could eventually become Phase 2 of the Rail Park) apparently at one time housed an “immigrant room” that helped newcomers reach their destinations safely.

Said Hart: “The building has a history of bringing together the Philadelphia community, and that is exactly what Triple Bottom Brewing Co. strives to do.”

Want some more? Explore other Philly Beer stories.

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