Bock Beer Festival and Goat Race
Goat race is held May. An all-day event held annually at the Phoenixville,
typically on the first Sunday in May, the Bock Beer Festival and Goat Race
celebrates Bock-style beers and a traditional German menu. After two years at a
now-closed local brewery, brewer Brian O'Reilly brought the idea with him to Sly
Fox in 2002. The event is held inside the pub and on the outside patio and
The event also features a multi-heat goat race competition in the adjacent
parking lot. Owners run with the leashed animals but may not lead or pull them
toward the finish line. The victorious goat earns the reward of having the
brewery's annual Maibock named in its honor.
The Sly Fox story begins in 1994 when Pete Giannopoulos, who left his job in
corporate sales earlier that year to pursue his dream of opening a brewpub,
found a site in Phoenixville that seemed perfect, an old inn with a barn in the
rear which he envisioned as the brewery. But when he talked to the New Jersey
investors who’d been encouraging his search, he discovered that talking was the
extent of their game.
A Rough Start…
A bitter disappointment, of course, but one which turned out to be a good thing.
What had been merely a prospective business now became prospective family
business and that, as they say, made all the difference. As Sly Fox Brewery has
grown over the years into a thriving and expanding enterprise, the one constant
has been the unswerving commitment of the Giannopoulos family to its success.
Things all fell into place with a single suggestion from family patriarch Dr.
Peter H. Giannopoulos: “Why not let us be your partners?”
In the end, the proposed original site couldn’t be worked out, but with the
whole family on the case, that proved to be just a minor bump in the road. A
couple of months went by which had Pete reluctantly contemplating a return to
the corporate world, but then came a phone call from his mother. She’d been
walking around Pikeland Village Square on Rt. 113 just a touch to the southwest
of Phoenixville proper when she noticed a large building in the rear with a
“vacant” sign on the door. “I think I’ve found the place,” she told her son. And
indeed she had.
An Ambitious Family Affair…
Pete designed the pub and he and his younger brother John set out to become
professional brewers, hiring San Diego consultant Mary Lou Moore to help them
design basic recipes from which they formulated their own beers. The whole
family pitched in, with Mrs. Giannopoulos helping with decorating and various
aunts and uncles helping out. Older brother Harry was put in charge of the books
and financial records and younger siblings Wendy and Glenn signed on to work at
The name “Sly Fox” was arrived at during a family meeting (there were lots of
those) to reflect the brewpub’s home in Chester County and the area’s
fox-hunting tradition. An original logo designed by Pete, an artist by
avocation, was modified into the familiar smiling fox lifting a pint which
adorned the Phoenixville location for its first nine years. A sign featuring
that logo and Pete’s original drawing both still hang in the pub.
Sly Fox Brewhouse & Eatery opened its doors on December 20, 1995 and there’s
been no looking back.
Crafting a Local & Regional Favorite…
Wisely recognizing that while being a brewpub was what would make them unique
among most of their competitors, it was the restaurant side of their business
which would be a determining factor in their success, the Giannopoulos family
made Sly Fox an affordable, appealing dining option for the entire community.
The effect has been to create an eclectic clientele—businessmen and women
dressed for success, a family with young children out for dinner, young people
out for an evening on the town. Sly Fox has been cited several times over the
years as a favorite Chester County dining spot.
The open design of the main bar area and a popular outdoor drinking and dining
terrace in warmer weather give the pub a welcoming and inviting ambiance that is
enhanced by a friendly serving staff and knowledgeable bartenders familiar with
the beers they pour. The sense of camaraderie which pervades the pub is made
tangible by Sly Fox’s involvement in its community, most notably an annual golf
tournament which has raised funds for local charities since the first year the