If you're tired of hearing about the state handing out job-generating cash to giant corporations that don't do much for beer drinkers, maybe you'll get some enjoyment out of the $500,000 now being spent to help create a new brewery.
State officials are providing that money as a grant to the town of Stratford to clean up a former industrial building so it can be used for an outfit called Two Roads Brewery.
"They're going like gang-busters," Stratford Mayor John Harkins says of the renovation work going on at the former U.S. Baird plant on Stratford Avenue.
Brad Hittle, one of the partners in Two Roads, says current plans are to have the new brewery in operation by this fall.
At the start, the operation plans to have 15 full-time and part-time employees. Hittle says the expectation is that by 2020 the place will be cranking out between 150,000 and 200,000 barrels of brew annually with the help of 65-70 workers. The operation would produce its own brand and brew beer for other companies.
That $500,000 in state money is being used mostly to get rid of asbestos in the old brick building. The U.S. Baird Company occupied the site for 164 years, producing commercial equipment used by all sorts of big industries.
Hittle and his partners, Peter Doering and Clem Pellani, have raised something like $18 million in financing to get their dream child up and running.
One part of their plan is to offer public tours of the new brewery and have a tasting room that can sell Two Roads' brew directly to consumers, both by the glass and in packaged containers. "It's a great mechanism to get consumers to try your product," Hittle says.
Harkins says the new brewery owners are looking to make Two Roads a destination for people to come see a working brewery operation and do some tastings. "We're really excited about it," the mayor adds.
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