After a nearly 20-year-drought, Scranton has a brewery again.
Groove Brewing at 1344 N. Washington Ave., a venture by Joe and Shannon Bonacci of North Scranton and Ed Generose of Old Forge, actually opened in April, but because of the pandemic initially offered only takeouts in 64-ounce growler jugs and 32-ounce crowler cans.
In June, the brewery added outdoor service in a rear yard patio. A few weeks ago, when the state eased COVID-19 restrictions on indoor capacity, Groove opened a few tables in its taproom.
Starting out small with only a one-barrel capacity and up to five beers on tap, the brewery has been making a name for itself among the craft beer crowd. In industry parlance, Groove is a nanobrewery, the smallest of microbreweries, Joe said.
The Bonaccis met in Colorado and lived there before moving to Northeast Pennsylvania four years ago.
For Joe, an industrial engineer who grew up in the Moscow/Spring Brook Twp. area of Lackawanna County, moving to NEPA was a move back home, while Shannon, who works in distribution, hailed from Illinois. Fans of craft beer, the couple toyed with the idea of starting their own brewery as a side gig.
They met Generose at a local gym. A mechanical engineer who grew up in Hazleton and has lived in Old Forge the past 20 years, Generose has been home-brewing since 1995.
Small talk led them to discover their shared affinity for craft beer, and soon Groove Brewing was born.
“The goal when we moved here was this would be great to do something like this. But I’m not going to learn brewing in a year, nor did I want to,” Joe said. “By dumb luck, we met Ed in the gym. It turned out he was pretty serious (about brewing). We took the jump and it’s been awesome.”
They believe Groove is the first brewery in Scranton since the former W.T. Hackett’s Brewing Co., a microbrewery that operated from 1999 to 2001 downtown in the 100 block of North Washington Avenue.
Craft and microbrewing has had ups and downs and is on an upswing, Generose said.
“Early ‘90s is when it started. Then it faded. It came back and we’re living strong,” Generose said.
They have intentionally not repeated a beer brew.
“Since we brew one barrel at a time, we run out pretty quickly,” Joe said. “We’re kind of turning into that place you go because we have something new all of the time. That’s pretty spot on with the whole culture of brewers anyway. You’re going for the next thing.”
Current offerings include Second Beer, a white IPA; Swanee, a cream ale; Baby Brought Watermelon, a sour; Preach Preacher, a porter; and Barnyard Cidery Cider First Edition, a cider.
A 16-ounce glass costs $6. A flight of four 5-ounce glasses costs $9.
They chose the name Groove because the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre valley area forms a sort of geographical groove, Joe said.
“Every town in America has got three or four breweries. There’s no reason why there shouldn’t be a couple in Scranton,” Joe said. “We’ll be here as long as people will have us. The goal is to grow.”
For information, see www.groovebrewing.com or its Facebook page.
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