Since announcing plans for a brewery, Chris Moline and his partners, have been fielding a number of questions. First among those is — when will work begin on the location, 1317 Newcastle St. in downtown Brunswick, begin?
Moline has an answer — soon.
“It is what I imagine it’s like to be a pregnant lady ... everyone keeps asking ‘when is the baby coming,” he said with a laugh. “But we are moving forward. We have already done some work to stabilize the building to make sure it doesn’t collapse. But we plan to start construction in the next two weeks. Once they finish work on the old building, it should move pretty fast with the new construction.”
Plans call for the brewery to occupy the full block with an open air beer garden, landscaping and a revitalized feel to the area. The business partners, which include Jeff and Kevin Coyles, along with Moline’s wife, Allyson, are anxious to get the work going in the hopes of opening later this year.
“We had a little change in plans as far as the second floor is concerned so we are a little behind schedule but we are still looking to open in 2017,” Moline said. “We are as anxious as anyone to get started.”
In addition to stabilizing the building, the partners also had to move through the proper channels in regard to the historic restoration. Moline said they have been working hand-in-hand with the Downtown Development Authority to ensure all the requirements are met. They are also working to trademark the business name, which remains unpublished, as well as obtaining all proper licensing.
“It is a process. We have filed our license and the trademark should be back within the next month or so. We made our deposit on our equipment,” he said. “At this point, we really want to focus on doing it right. We only have one opportunity to do this. We want to do it the right way versus meeting some sort of deadline.”
Even so, Moline is charged by the buzz he has heard since the group announced plans back in April. He said that, in addition to questions on progress, people are excited for the project and what it will mean for downtown.
“It is a great buzz and we are getting a lot of feedback. It has all been very positive. I’ve heard from people that I’m surprised to hear from ... people I would never have thought would be excited about a brewery. They have all said they think it is what the city really needs — so that’s been cool,” he said. “It reinforces that we are doing the right thing which is nice because it is a major gamble and a major investment.”
For Moline and the others in the group, it will be a chance to join the growing line-up of downtown businesses, all of which want to help reinvigorate downtown. He added that they have been offered a warm reception by their soon-to-be neighbors.
“It’s been really awesome. I haven’t talked with everyone yet, but the ones I have are very supportive. Jovan at the Farmer and the Larder is great. I’ve talked with Erik Vonk from Richland Rum, who has been very helpful,” he said.
“But the biggest thing for us is that we don’t want to compete with the neighbors. We want people to come to us for a beer then go to them after. So we won’t have a full menu and we may serve some quick food but we want people to go to Tispy’s or the Farmer and Larder ... and hopefully they will carry our beer.”
The current plan would have several beers featured, some for sale exclusively at the brewery with others available at local shops and restaurants. Tours will also be available, as well as on-site tastings. Moline adds that events will be another piece of the puzzle.
“We have already had people asking about our events for fundraisers and other things which is great. It is going to be multi-faceted so we won’t have to close down the tap room to have an event. We will have several areas available depending what the client wants.”
For its part, the Downtown Development Authority is as excited as the brewery owners to see the project moving forward. Mathew Hill, executive director of the authority, said there is a lot of positivity surrounding the brewery.
“We have a large number of people who are interested in craft beers and can’t wait to see what varieties the brewery will produce,” Hill said.