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Sly Fox Brewery Goat Race

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 parking area.

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 pub.

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 doors opened.


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