PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) -- Some beer lovers have brewed up a new idea for Pittsburgh: a beer museum.
The hope is that "Brew: A Museum Of Beer" will become a tourist attraction for the city.
After about three years of researching and planning, Joe McAllister, Matthew Sherwin, and Denis Meinhert, the team behind the National Beer Museum Development Group, LLC, is getting ready to launch a crowdfunding campaign to move to the next step of building the museum.
After all, there are plenty of other types of museums: "Museum for mustard. There are museums for Bigfoot and UFOs," said McAllister. "You know, beer is real. Beer is serious. There needs to be a museum of beer, kind of a proper home for beer to tell the fascinating story behind the history of beer."
For instance, did you know the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock because they were running out of beer? It's true. (They drank beer because the water wasn't safe to drink.)
Just some of what you could learn at the museum. It would be complete with a brewery, restaurant and gift shop.
The guys behind the idea compare it to Cleveland's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which gets 460,000 visitors a year and brings in hundreds of millions of dollars, according to McAllister.
"That's what we'd like to do for Pittsburgh," says McAllister, adding that most of the visitors to the Ohio attraction come from out of town. "It's going to have a big impact on tourism, and that means we want to be in a venue close to the Convention Center and close to the downtown hotels."
Factor in today's growing popularity of craft beers, and the guys think there's a real thirst for beer knowledge.
"There are some regional places and some collections, but we think we're going to do the first true national beer museum," said Meinert.
No specific locations have been picked for the building. McAllister says a few spots have been discussed in his conversations with city and county officials.
"Our goal is to be in a really iconic spot in the city of Pittsburgh," said Sherwin. "Somewhere close to Downtown, where folks visiting from out of town can have easy access."
All in all, McAllister estimates the project will cost about $20 million.
So what exactly would be on display at Brew? McAllister, a self-admitted failed home-brewer, says the building would display highlights from the history of beer, which he says is ingrained in human history.
"You can take any aspect of history, and we can tell you a fascinating beer story about it," says McAllister. "Whether it's why the Huns beat the Romans, or how we survived during the Middle Ages by drinking beer instead of dirty water. Every aspect of history has an interesting beer story behind it, and we want to tell it."
The team hopes to break ground sometime next year. The project has gathered support from local politicians, VisitPittsburgh CEO Craig Davis, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust CEO Kevin McMahon, some brewery heads, and others.
For more info, check out their website: http://www.brewmuseum.com
On Oct. 18, they guys will start a crowdfunding campaign to raise $50,000.
"We hope to raise enough through that to get us through the independent expert studies," McAllister said.
They'll use that money to talk to experts in education and entertainment, and then take their plans to potential investors.
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