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Blind Cat Beer Co. bringing sustainable brewing to downtown Pittston

Manny Salvatori and Brittany Grasso-Salvatori are co-owners of Blind Cat Beer Co. Their cat, Cricket, inspired the business' name.
Aimee Dilger
Manny Salvatori and Brittany Grasso-Salvatori are co-owners of Blind Cat Beer Co. Their cat, Cricket, inspired the business' name.

Tugging on an orange harness, a black cat named Cricket snuffled and pawed his way around the brick exterior of a former sewing facility in downtown Pittston.

He couldn’t see the inside of the building, but his other senses became well-acquainted with the space that will soon be named after him - Blind Cat Beer Company.

“Our flagship beer is going to be named after Cricket,” said co-owner Brittany Grasso-Salvatori. “One dollar from each beer sale of the Cricket will go toward a local animal shelter.”

Grasso-Salvatori and Manny Salvatori, Cricket’s owners, are working to open an “earth-friendly” brewery in downtown Pittston by the end of the summer. Right now, the space on Kennedy Street is cleared out and waiting for the installation of a bar and tanks to brew beer.

Salvatori has been brewing beer professionally since 2011. He worked in New York City for seven years. But the Scranton native wanted to come home, and has been brewing for Here & Now Brewing Company in Honesdale.

“Getting that experience in the city prepared us enough to finally feel confident enough to make this happen,” he said. “It’s been a long, long process, but we’re close and it’s super exciting.”

Salvatori hopes to have Blind Cat open in August, but creating a sustainable brewery takes time. The only brand-new items will be their brewing equipment, he said.

“I’m basically trying to be as sustainable as a five barrel brewery could be by using earth friendly chemicals, all of our furniture is secondhand,” he said.

They plan to use ingredients grown in Pennsylvania, avoid single-use plastic cups, and offer incentive programs for customers who return the plastic can carriers used for packs of canned beer.

Grasso-Salvatori, wearing a green shirt with the Blind Cat logo, said they also plan to use secondhand clothing for their merchandise. They will find shirts at secondhand stores and have their logo, a stylized version of Cricket’s face, screen printed.

Cricket is the namesake for Blind Cat Beer Co., a brewery coming to downtown Pittston.
Aimee Dilger
Cricket is the namesake for Blind Cat Beer Co., a brewery coming to downtown Pittston.

“We’re just trying to cut down on our carbon footprint as much as possible,” she said.

She also hopes the name of the brewery and Cricket's presence will raise awareness of special needs animals in shelters.

The pair adopted Cricket from a shelter where Grasso-Salvatori was volunteering. She heard about a blind cat coming into the shelter, then ended up cleaning out his kennel.

"I opened his and he climbed out, right into my lap," she said. "I was like okay, a cat has never done this to me before, so I guess you're coming home with me."

Grasso-Salvatori is from Swoyersville. Salvatori said Pittston was a natural choice to take the leap into business ownership.

“It’s in the middle, and it just seemed like a really nice location to have this brewery,” he said. “It’s a town that’s revitalizing, and it’s doing a great job and really could use a brewery for… the community to hang out, drink some beer that’s made from local ingredients and just chat.”

The beer menu will include the Cricket, a pilsner, and Salvatori plans to feature other types of lagers, seasonal offerings and IPAs.

“I’m a big West Coast IPA fan,” he said. “We’ll have sours and non-alcoholic options for everybody to try to be as family friendly as possible.”

While they work toward opening the brewery, Salvatori said they’ve gotten involved with events in Pittston. They’re hoping to sell beer to-go at the annual Tomato Festival.

“They’re really on our side,” he said. “We’re all excited to be working together.”

Sarah Scinto is the local host of Morning Edition on WVIA. She is a Connecticut native and graduate of King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, and has previously covered Northeastern Pennsylvania for The Scranton Times-Tribune, The Citizens’ Voice and Greater Pittston Progress.

You can email Sarah at sarahscinto@wvia.org