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Rooney Family Brings New Life To Old Brew

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Brewmaster Andy Rich, of Penn Brewery, has the attention of visitor Joe Rooney whose grandfather, late Steelers owner Art Rooney, was part of a family tradition that dates back more than a century.

"Not a lot of people knew that the chief or his dad were brewers," Rooney said.

Daniel Rooney, an Irish immigrant, sold the beer in his North Side tavern, which opened in 1902.

"They did brew a number of beers including the Irish red that we're brewing."

The idea behind Rooney's Old Irish Style Ale surfaced when Joe and his brother, Patrick, who have pubs in Florida, came across a very old bottle of Rooney's lager.

"When I was looking at it, I got the idea, 'Let's recreate this as part of our pub business. Let's recreate this whole logo, the company, you know, and bring it into the fold,'" Rooney said.

The first shipment came off the line at Penn's Brewery last month. They hope the taste will spread throughout Steelers nation.

It's all in the family like that long ago tavern on Robinson Street.

"All of the people down front were relatives of mine. Some of them were cousins some of them were great uncles but they were all there to celebrate the opening."

A parking lot next to Heinz Field is all that remains of a site where backslapping tavern patrons once hoisted their beers.

Of course, with tailgating, have things really changed that much?

"Tailgating with hopefully Rooney's beer out there," Rooney said.

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