The fourth-anniversary block party at Kennett Brewing Company last month was a testament to the diverse and fun-loving extended family that Jossy and Mark Osborne have created here in Kennett Square. If Jossy could just figure out how, they’d be celebrating KBC’s birthday more than once a year—and they’d also be hosting even more events than they already do to raise money and awareness for great causes and the extraordinary people who champion them.
The operative word here is “more.” “We need more space and more than 12 months in a year,” Jossy says. “And we need to be able to make more beer.”
Though the calendar of the cozy micro-brewery and pub is always chock full, Jossy has never met a good cause she wouldn’t love to support—and she always seems able to find a spot to help someone promote the great work they’re doing. “I love getting people together for a party,” she says, “but while we’re having fun it’s also important to be mindful of what we can do to help and bring hope and joy to others.” Giving back comes naturally to Jossy. “I’ve been a volunteer my whole life,” she says. Over 30 years ago, she started a charity to help a friend with a rare disease. They raised thousands of dollars with a plant sale and set up a toll-free helpline, and she saw what an incredible difference people can make when they come together to help.
We need more space and more than 12 months in a year. And we need to be able to make more beer.
KBC hosts monthly trivia and “Shakesbeer” nights, regular guest bartending fundraisers, and other special events, including a Bike & Brew Tour to benefit KACS that raised thousands of dollars and brought in a record-breaking 495 pounds of food this year. A recent evening to benefit Camp Dreamcatcher included an auction and “a big feast.” Jossy’s smile lights up the windowless room as she describes joining the tables together, the teepees, the laughter, and the great auction prizes including a week in France and a coveted “Meet the Brewer” day with Mark. She also loves gatherings that help to break down barriers, as when policemen and others in the community talk about charities they support. And she brims with similar enthusiasm about a new connection she’s made and a dinner and fundraiser planned for October to support those with MS—an event that will feature work donated by local artists.
Jossy’s a passionate supporter of the arts and artists—yet another group who have found a home and a platform at KBC. KBC is a vibrant venue for live music with local musicians most nights of the week, and various events throughout the year provide an audience to encourage artists and writers, too. Open mic nights, for example, give poets and storytellers a safe place to express themselves. “I can’t tell you how happy that makes me,” Jossy says. “And then there’s the Kennett Library’s bad romance night, which is one of the funniest nights of the year. It’s a hoot.” Local artist Derek Brennan designed KBC’s iconic hop head logo (“it’s not a skull, even though everyone thinks it is,” Jossy says), and many of their distinctively whimsical posters that adorn the walls. Jossy loves to see artists appreciating each other’s work, too, and young people getting their start. KBC provides local artists and makers with a venue to sell and showcase their work at holiday craft fairs and at events like the recent “Save the Bees” afternoon, which benefited the Chester County Beekeepers Association and helped to educate people about these amazing and at-risk creatures. In fact, pollination might be an apt analogy for the kind of encouraging, connectional relationships that Jossy loves to foster.
Although Jossy’s extraordinary capabilities don’t stretch to adding days to the calendar, she and Mark are making plans to expand the other dimension of the space-time continuum by expanding into what is now a garage between the bar and Apple Alley. The new space, first of all, will enable Mark to expand from his current five-barrel system to a ten-barrel one, with four fermenters, so they can keep up with the demand for beer at the restaurant and at various community events. The new space will also incorporate another bar, facing the current one, which will provide more seating and mean that everyone can have a view of the stage. Garage doors with window panels will open up the space with natural light.
A Home Away from Home
Mark’s extraordinary beers, great locally sourced food, and Jossy’s creative social energy combine to create this unique space for gathering community. A regular customer sits at the bar most afternoons, enjoying a diet Coke and a burger or a hot dog and chatting with staff. He’s one of the many people who feel a sense of home and belonging at KBC.
I loved being a stay-at-home mom. I was the PTO president, a soccer mom, and all the kids and their friends were always at our house—and this is the next step, a new season.
Having worked in farming and construction for most of his career, Mark brings an expertise to brewing that’s been honed over years of researching and refining his techniques. At the intersection of art and science, he creates award-winning and crowd-pleasing beers that combine the best of traditional styles with innovative interpretations. He’s also KBC’s sound engineer and enjoys working on airplanes. “He likes to tinker,” Jossy says with a smile.
Jossy sees KBC as a natural extension of the hospitality she and Mark, who have been married for over 30 years, have always enjoyed sharing with others. “I loved being a stay-at-home mom,” she says. “I was the PTO president, a soccer mom, and all the kids and their friends were always at our house—and this is the next step, a new season.” Their son and three daughters are all involved with KBC in different ways. Daughter Clara supplies flowers as well as organic chorizo from her Pasture Song Farm. Their son, who helped build KBC, made the new tables customers have been enjoying on the sidewalk this summer—and he’s also built new tables for the expansion. Kate and Gwen live in Boston and California, respectively, but they help with social media and in other areas—and they all come home for KBC’s anniversary party every June.
Jossy’s kindness and enthusiasm are infectious. She loves to see the kind of organic networking that happens when people connect with new friends, and she’s continually amazed and inspired by the caring, creative, and talented people she meets here in Kennett Square. “We have a little bit of a launchpad for anyone to get their organization out there,” she says, “and anyone who wants to do that should come to me.”
At KBC, there’s always room for more.