About us

 

Meet the PHO Team

 

Jimmy McMillan

Jimmy McMillan began his interest in fermentation and the natural transformation of food early in his childhood by seeing the magic of bread baking. At the age of 13, he took his first job at a restaurant and continued his food passion for 10 years, moving from NC to Philadelphia to work as Sous Chef at the soon to open Davio's in Center City. Eventually Jimmy stepped away from the long hours and low pay of working in professional kitchens, and started working in IT, as his second passion was in technology.

Shortly after entering the tech world, Jimmy wanted to continue his food and fermentation passion, so he turned to the world of homebrewing his own beer. A number of years go by, and homebrewing shaped his personal relationships and community involvement, eventually leading him and Nick Less to purchase a preexisting homebrew store.

Jimmy is an Alumni of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program, as well as a member of the Philadelphia Sustainable Business Network, Merchants Fund family member, and has successfully obtained a number of grants in the Philadelphia region.


 
Nick Less first became aware of fermentation at a around the age of 10 when his dad used to brew beer in his kitchen. He remembers his Dad and Sister working hard on a school science project "Yeast and Fermentation in Beer Brewing". It wasn't until he was 26 when he passed by Barry's Homebrew Outlet in South Philadelphia that he decided to give it a go. He bought his fist brewing kit from Barry Mulherin and was immediately hooked! 
Over the next couple years Nick became very good friends with Barry and started brewing at the store weekly. During this time we would have a monthly get together called SPAM (South Philly Ale Makers) where Nick Meet his current business partner Jimmy McMillan. In 2011 Jimmy and Nick bought Barry's Homebrew Outlet which was renamed Philly Homebrew Outlet in 2013. 
 
In 2014 Nick took his skills learned in the Micromatic Draft Training course and opened Philly Tap Services with Jimmy. He has since then worked on many installations and cleaning around the Philadelphia area.  
 
With his passion for brewing as well as motorcycles Nick took a trip across the country on his 1977 Triumph Bonneville, with his at the time roommate Ryan Scheswhol, to interview brewers for there documentary "Road Rash, Saddle Ass and Beer Breath".
Nick Less

 
Tom Pettine

Tom Pettine has been homebrewing since 2004 when he bought his first equipment kit from Barry’s Homebrew in South Philadelphia.  He had been curious about fermentation for several years before finally taking the plunge.

Over the years his interest has expanded to include many types of fermentation.  Besides brewing beer Tom began making wine, mead, cider, kombucha, pickles, kefir and veggie ferments to name a few.  

Although a regular customer at Barry’s Homebrew, it wasn’t until 2011 that Tom met Jimmy and Nick when they set up shop in North Kensington.  Tom was living in Fishtown at the time and started spending way too much time hanging out at the shop when he should have been home brewing. This often caused his brew days to stretch until 3 am.  

Tom started helping around the shop in exchange for store credit, and when he offered to help on the dreaded inventory day, Nick and Jimmy offered him a job instead.  He has been working for Philly Homebrew since 2013 and currently manages the Philly Homebrew Outlet West. He teaches weekly classes on various fermentation and diy topics.  His love for Mead has also sparked an interest in beekeeping and he currently maintains two hives on the roof of PHO West.


 
Jay Dean has always liked the idea of making things. A student of the culinary arts, taught by his mom since the age of 7. After bouncing around between sales and food service, Jay finally had his eyes set on production. Deep research into the different types of fermented beverages enabled him to make his first leap into the homebrew lifestyle. Jay became to be a regular customer at Philly Homebrew and surprised Jimmy with some well made "Welch's" wine leading him to eventually finding a position within the company.
 
Jay continues on his path of homemade crafts and business development as Co-founder of O.H. Infusions handmade herbal infusions.
Jay Dean

 
Anthony Hoch

Anthony has been with PHO since the third location opened in Oaklyn New Jersey. Though new to Beer making and Fermentation in general this is a subject that has always piqued his interest.  So, when his wife told him there was going to be a store devoted to DIY consumables in Jersey he decided to take his years of craft beer enthusiasm and retail management experience and combine them into something cool. 

Aside from fermentation Anthony’s passions include music, cooking, art and being a dad. An avid extreme music fan he typically has something interesting playing over at the Jersey store while the smell of last night’s leftovers waft from the microwave in the back.

I try to create anything for the same reason - be it food, a drawing, music or beer. To see the expression on a person’s face when they enjoy it. – Anthony Hoch

 


 
 
Kevin Logan Kevin Logan started in 2018 and is currently the Philly Tap Services manager.

 
Beth McMillan Beth was introduced to fermentation as a child by her father, an avid sourdough bread and wine maker. As she grew up, Beth pursued interests in theatre production, farming and gardening which cemented her DIY spirit and love for food and community. Over the past 10 years, she has picked up more fermentation knowledge and enjoys making concoctions for wellness and finding new ways to use the vegetables, herbs and flowers she grows at home. She joined PHO in October of 2017 doing bookkeeping and coordinating the operations of the stores.  She and Jimmy live in New Jersey with their two daughters, 3 chickens and a dog.

 
Jamie Adams is a draft tech that makes sure all the draft lines are squeeky clean. Jamie Adams

 

Why are you called PHO sometimes?

PHO stands for Philly Homebrew Outlet, Our close customers refer to the stores as PHO East, PHO West and PHO Jersey.  Also PHO is delicious soup, we hope that what you make after purchasing ingredients for us is delicious as well, whether it's Homemade Wine, Beer, or anything else fermented.

Redefining Homebrew, Philly Homebrew Outlet specializes in DIY Consumables ranging from Beer, Wine, Soap, and even Beekeeping Supplies.  We currently sell equipment and ingredients as well as home and professional bar equipment. Our goal is to provide you with the best customer service and expert knowledge so everyone can succeed in meeting their DIY or Professional Draft Service goals.

Philly Homebrew's History

Years ago, there was a store located in South Philly named Barry's Homebrew Outlet. Barry Mulherin was a do it yourself pioneer, building his home and store from an empty burned out shell. Barry's Homebrew Outlet started in 1983, servicing South Philly for Beer and Wine making enthusiast, just like yourself. After 15 years of running and owning the store, Barry felt it was time to move on, and sold the company to two of his best friends, Nick Less and Jimmy McMillan.

Nick started brewing beer with Barry, and Jimmy started brewing alone following the guidance of any book he could find. The boys met at Barry's Homebrew Outlet in the summer of 2003 at a "SPAM: South Philly Ale Makers" meeting, and have been friend ever since. Once the offer of purchasing the store was on the table, they both resigned their jobs and started a new business driven by the love and passion of homebrewing.

Since 2011, Nick and Jimmy have been running the store from a new location just blocks away from Northern Liberties. At 1447 N. American Street lies a 1800 square foot building packed to the gills with Beer, Wine, Cheese making, and more supplies and ingredients.

In November of 2015 we expanded and opened our West Philly location, and in late 2017 we opened yet another location in Oaklyn, New Jersey. 

Redefining Homebrew? What's that even mean?

Philly Homebrew Outlet is not just a retail store, it's a one stop shop for all types of Do It Yourself consumables. The vast knowledge the team has is shared free of charge for anyone that walks into the store. Ask any question, and if you don't receive the exact answer, you'll get a justified open opinion on the subject.

Homebrewing as a verb means to brew up something at home. Usually perceived as Beer brewing, but every morning you wake up and brew a pot of coffee... isn't that "Homebrewing" too? Why not crushing fresh fruit and making a small batch wine, or pressing your first semi soft cheese into a shaped mold? Want to start making your own Salumi in your basement, or growing tender Shiitake on a log in your dining room? Yep, that's Redefining Homebrew!

To all of you, from all of us at Philly Homebrew Outlet - Thank you and Happy Brewing!

Jimmy, Nick, and the rest of the PHO Team