Brewer News

New brewery moves closer to reality in Brewer


A planned brewery is under construction as seen on Wednesday in Brewer. Hardy Street LLC, the builder of the planned brewery, was given a rebate of just over $31,000 to help pay for a portion of the unexpected soil remediation costs that were split with the city.

BREWER, Maine — A new brewery-restaurant is under construction at the site where the old Public Works garage on Hardy Street once stood, and it is scheduled to open at the end of April, a city official said Wednesday.

Homebrewer Christopher Morley, a mortgage development officer at Bangor Savings Bank, is planning to open Mason’s Brewing Company at 15 Hardy St., said Brewer economic development director D’arcy Main-Boyington.

“This is his passion,” Main-Boyington said of Morley.

Soil under the former garage was deemed speciality waste because it contained partially burned coal and wood chips, and it needed to be removed in order for plans for the brewery to move forward, Main-Boyington said. City leaders and the project developer agreed to split the cost of the soil removal, and council members on Tuesday decided to provide an additional $31,000 rebate on the purchase of the property after unexpected remediation costs arose.

The soil remediation was done before the ground was broken on the building, Main-Boyington said.

Brewer City Council members authorized spending $150,000 for soil remediation last summer, before work on the building started, but the bill grew to $192,790 to haul the soil away and dispose of it at the Juniper Ridge Landfill in Old Town, Main-Boyington said.

On Wednesday night, the council approved sharing the additional cost of the remediation with the developer.

The brewery, which eventually will include a restaurant that faces the Penobscot River, is being built by Hardy Street LLC, which is Ellsworth construction firm E.L. Shea, according to Nicole Gogan, deputy director of economic development for Brewer.

“It made more sense [economically] for them to do the building,” Gogan said. “Chris Morley is going to be the operator and lease it from them.”

Messages left for Morley on Wednesday were not immediately returned.

Hardy Street LLC also paid for the soil excavation costs in partnership with the city to redevelop the parcel, Main-Boyington said.

Since the sale of the property is not set to go forward until next week, city leaders decided to just reduce the purchase price for the developer so there is no out of pocket costs for the city, she said.

Councilors unanimously approved the rebate order Wednesday without discussion.

“This order authorizes the rebate of $31,365 of the original sales price of $90,000 of 15 Hardy Street back to Hardy Street LLC towards the cost of additional soil remediation and removal,” the order states.

The former Brewer Public Works garage, built in 1952, was removed in early 2004 to make way for the city’s Penobscot Landing redevelopment plans, which include a waterfront trail and Children’s Garden located next door.

Morley’s brewery will be canning the beer made in Brewer by his brewmaster, Main-Boyington said. Several different types of beer — Roggen Bier, mocha stout, West Coast Pilz and others — are posted on the brewery’s Facebook page. He expects the restaurant, which will serve gourmet pizza among other items, to open about a month after the brewery, she said.

“It’s going to be nice,” Gogan said.

By Nok-Noi Ricker, BDN Staff
Posted Jan. 27, 2016, at 7:05 p.m.