A lot has changed since Steve Stoppard's brewing buddy - a yellow Labrador retriever - ate a baked pumpkin planned as a key ingredient for homemade beer.
Stoppard later created a beer recipe, named to commemorate the dog, Brewmutt Pumpkin Breath Ale.
That was about 20 years ago.
Today, Stoppard owns Mr. Steve's Homebrew & Wine Supplies. The store sells wine, beer, soda, cheese and bread-making equipment and supplies, and teaches classes on how to make products at home.
"The brewmutt is now our logo," he said of his beloved dog that died many years ago. "He's still with us in spirit."
The business started in Springettsbury Township, then added branches in Lancaster and Cumberland counties.
"We're excited," he said of the newest location, which draws customers from Gettysburg and northern Maryland.
Stoppard said he also plans to create Mr. Steve's franchises in areas including Reading and Baltimore.
"These days, people are very in tune to making things at home," he said, adding that costs for homemade products are typically 25 to 50 percent less than retail prices for ready-made items.
"A $20 bottle of wine, we make for $3.50," he said of varieties including Chardonnay and Pinot. "Anything you can buy at a state store, we sell the juice to make your own. (Customers) realize the savings."
But home brewing is about more than saving money, Stoppard said.
"It's more of a culture," he said. "It's about bragging rights. . . . Brewing is actually an art."
He said his stores provide a money-back guarantee for customers who aren't satisfied.
"That's never happened," he said.
Stoppard said his customers make his job rewarding.
"It makes me feel really good," he said of teaching folks the home-brewing craft. "I like to make people happy."
Stoppard said he's pleased to have grown his business despite the suffering economy.
"I'm proud of that," he said of expanding his stores. "My passion is teaching people to brew."
The company's growth also created jobs.
"Along with all of these new changes, I hired an administrative assistant," he said.
Stoppard also hired an accounting firm and Rob Pianka of ActionCOACH, which is headquartered in Las Vegas and teaches companies around the world to better manage business operations, including time and employees.
Pianka, based in Manheim Township, Lancaster County, said customers enjoy learning from Stoppard.
"People go to him, forget about the Internet and want his expertise," Pianka said.
Where is it?
MR. STEVE'S HOMEBREW & WINE SUPPLIES store locations include:
· 2944 Whiteford Road, Springettsbury Township, 717-751-2255
· 241 W. Roseville Road, Lancaster, 717-397-4818
· 2206 Gettysburg Road, Camp Hill, Cumberland County, 717-975-3470
· 11-13 Carlisle Street, Hanover, 717-630-0123
Learn more at www.mrsteves.com.
· Holy Hound Taproom, 57 W Market St., York, 717-855-2410, www.holyhoundtaproom.com
· Liquid Hero Brewery, 50 E. North St., York, www.liquidhero.com
· Mudhook Brewing Co., 34 Cherry Lane, York, 717-747-3605, www.mudhookbrewing.com
· Old Republic Distillery, 37 Cherry St., Seven Valleys, 717-428-6177, www.drinkord.com
· Warehouse Gourment Bistro & Brewpub, 7 Pennsylvania Avenue, Hanover, 6160451-9898, www.warehousegourmet.net
· Lancaster Brewing Co., 302 N. Plum St., Lancaster, 717-391-6258, www.lancasterbrewing.com
· Bube's Brewery, 102 N. Market St., Mount Joy, 717-653-2056, www.bubesbrewery.com
· Roy-Pitz Brewing Co., 140 N. Third St., Chambersburg, 717-496-8753, www.roypitz.com
· Rumspringa Brewing Co., 3174 Old Philadelphia Pike, Bird-in-Hand, 717-768-7194, www.lancaster-gallery.com
· St. Boniface Craft Brewing Co., 1701 W. Main St., Ephrata, 717-721-1744, www.stbonibrewing.com
· Swashbuckler Brewing Co., 2775 Lebanon Road, Manheim, 717-665-7021, www.parenfaire.com/pub/swashbucklerbeer.html
· Troegs Brewing Co., 200 E. Hersheypark Drive, Hershey, 717-534-1297, www.troegs.com
Learn more at www.SusquehannaAleTrail.com.
"Unconventionally brewed. Unconditionally loved."
That's the motto for a planned nanobrewery set to open in York this summer.
Baldy Beard Brewing Co. is raising funds via Kickstarter for a brewery and tasting room.
"We really want to be a part of York County's business community and become an incentive for driving tourism to York," said Jonpaul Terwilliger, president of the company, via email.
"Our goal is to provide a place for friends to kick back and enjoy craft beer at its finest."