Real City

By Bill Covaleski

Back in the early ’90s when I was busily working as a grunt brewer, I longed to play the incredibly popular game SimCity. I loved the idea of being responsible for building communities based on my priorities and decisions. But, whether it’s because I’m the product of post-Depression coal-country Poles, Germans and Lithuanians (masters of frugality) or because I’m an obsessed craft brewer, I never found the time or money to invest in the game.

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Now, nearly 30 years later, as I prepare myself for the second annual Downingtown FallFest, I realize that I’ve been participating in a real-life version of the game that once eluded me. Beginning in 1994 when Ron and I wrote our business plan, we’ve been making our own decisions and prioritizing our corporate and community goals. In doing so, we’ve aligned ourselves with like-minded individuals in order to harness their positive energy as we spend some serious bucks to thrust momentum behind our shared ideals. I’ve been thrilled to watch as Downingtown has been transformed with these energies and resources.

This Sunday, I am excited to see our vibrant community come together to celebrate the season. Working with a number of Downingtown residents and Victory employees, we have prepared for an expected 3,000 attendees join in our street festival.

Many of the FallFest organizers work with me as part of the board of the Downingtown Main Street Association (DSMA), a newly formed group affecting positive civic change in our borough. The original DMSA worked tirelessly for 12 years, but suspended from exhaustion in 2005. Before dissolving, however, it was the advice of a few of the original DSMA members that encouraged me and Ron to consider Downingtown as a home for our brewery and restaurant.

As I anticipate the festivities of this coming Sunday, I sit back and appreciate the myriad of players who have contributed to the growth of Downingtown and of FallFest and marvel that the best game I get to play is the game of life.

Come on out to Downingtown FallFest on Sunday and enjoy some life —  yours and others.


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European Tradition.


American Ingenuity.

The Victory Brewing Story

The story of Victory Brewing Company starts on a school bus in 1973 when fifth-graders Ron Barchet and Bill Covaleski stepped aboard, on their way to a new school. The two became fast friends and remained so, even as they grew up and went to college on opposite coasts. Just months out of college, Bill’s appreciation of good beer and access to his father’s home brewing equipment inspired him to explore the hobby. That same year (1985), Bill gave Ron a home brewing kit as a Christmas gift. With that, both Bill and Ron developed their love of the craft…
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