Kennett Creamery, Round 2

After a successful kickoff in 2016, the beer garden and community space is gearing up for an even better second season

It took more than a century, but a Kennett Square property that started as a dairy has finally found its calling—as a beer garden.

In 1902, Theodore Pennock founded the short-lived Eastern Condensed Milk Co. on a plot of land on Birch Street. By 1907, the company was no more, but the building and grounds of the creamery lived on through the next century. Throughout the years, it was bought and sold many times as a creamery and dairy plant before being purchased in 1960 and transformed into a cannery for mushrooms.

In 2011, the cannery was gone and the building and property left in a state of decay. Then, Mike and Dot Bontrager purchased the 30,000-square-foot property and its factory-sized buildings. They had no predetermined plans or visions for their purchase, but after five years—in June of 2016—they opened The Kennett Creamery.

But, belying its name, TKC is devoid of any milk condensing or pasteurization operations. Instead, it’s a thriving beer garden.

Open evenings on Thursday and Friday and afternoons into evenings on Saturday and Sunday throughout the summer, the property now acts as a massive community space for all to enjoy. Its inaugural season was a great success, offering guests a choice of 16 beers on draft or in cans as well as a list of wine and cocktails. A rotating selection of food trucks was on site every night with meal and snack options. Local art and live music were regular occurrences. Strings of lights provided ambiance after the sun had set as guests relaxed at the dozens of picnic tables and lounge chairs. Children played in sandboxes. More active guests played games like Jenga or bag toss.

Now, as it prepares to open for its sophomore season, TKC aims to make this summer even better. All the favorites from 2016 will return, joined by a few additions. On the previously unused west side of the property will be a Family Garden featuring kids’ games and the possibility of a water feature. A TKC-owned food truck will be nearby to make it easy for families to watch their kids while getting a meal.

There will also be new locally prepared food options along with the food trucks from last year.

Additionally, TKC is reaching out to the community to get involved—urging local musicians, artists and food vendors to participate.

The Bontragers have been gratified with the response from their first season and are looking forward to this year’s opening on Friday, May 26. “Whether it’s families or groups of friends playing games together or people bringing their dogs to relax with a brew and listen to live music, we sought to create a community atmosphere that felt like a backyard BBQ where everyone was welcome,” says Mike Bontrager.

TKC is located at 401 Birch St., Kennett Square. More information can be found at kennettcreamery.com.

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