Smuttynose begins work on Hampton brewery, restaurant
By Patrick Cronin
Hampton Union, December 9, 2011
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
HAMPTON — The moving of an old farmhouse this week on a 14-acre property on Towle Farm Road signaled the official start to the construction of a new $16 million Smuttynose Brewery and restaurant.
Smuttynose owner Peter Egelston said the farmhouse is being moved 40 yards east to make room for the new 42,000-square-foot brewing facility. Building will begin in spring 2012.
BY THE NUMBERS
42,000: Square footage for new Smuttynose Brewery to be built on Towle Farm Road.
40: Yards farmhouse is moving to make room for the new brewery.
95: Number of seats planned for restaurant when farmhouse is converted.
60,000: Annual brewing capacity, in barrels, for new facility, doubling the current Smuttynose site in Portsmouth.
"We will be jumping into this full force in the spring time, and we hope to be moving into a new brewery by the summer of 2013," Egelston said. "What we are doing now is getting a little bit of a head start before the winter sets in, as we all know it will."
Crews are working this week to jack up the farmhouse, raise it from its foundation and roll it to its new location.
The farmhouse will be placed on a new foundation and later converted into a restaurant. As part of that project, crews also dismantled the connecting structures that tie into the existing farmhouse and a historic barn, which will not be moved.
"We are salvaging as much of those structures as we can," Egelston said. "One of the structures is a very old carriage house that we would like reassembled sometime in the future." The disassembled carriage house will be stored in a dry location until a decision is made on where to place it.
Other work planned this winter includes the construction of a big tank, which will be the centerpiece of an on-site wastewater treatment system.
Egelston said it was important for him to keep the old structures and incorporate them into the new project.
"The easier thing, and probably the cheaper thing, would be to go in there and just tear everything down," Egelston said.
But one of the things that sold Smuttynose on the Hampton site, Egelston said, was the beautiful location, including the Victorian farmhouse and the historic barn.
"We wanted to keep the flavor and feel and also preserve some of the history of what has taken place on the site for decades and even centuries," Egelston said. "We felt obligated to be respectful of the historic buildings as much as we could." Egelston said the farmhouse will be converted into a 95-seat restaurant that will be a much smaller operation than the current Portsmouth Brewery in downtown Portsmouth.
Egelston said he's still undecided on what to do with the barn, which is on a list of historic barns in New Hampshire.
"We kind of feel like the use of the barn will reveal itself over time," Egelston said. "We know we are going to make it available for special functions, but our main goal is building the new brewery, first and foremost, and getting the restaurant up and running." Egelston said his company is excited to finally start the project. When Smuttynose purchased the property in 2008, financing issues during the height of the recession's credit crunch led to a major construction delay, pushing back the project to its current status.
Once the project is complete, Smuttynose plans to leave its location in Portsmouth on Heritage Avenue.
Egelston decided to move to Hampton to expand Smuttynose's operations after failing in previous bids to relocate the brewery to sites in both Portsmouth and Newmarket.
The need to expand, he said, is evident, especially after Smuttynose sold a record number of barrels of beer.
"If you asked me two years ago if we would be selling 40,000 barrels a year by the end of 2011, I would have said no," Egelston said. "But here we are; we are pretty close." Space constraints at its brewing facility on Heritage Avenue in Portsmouth forced the company to shift some of its production of Old Brown Dog ale to a Utica, N.Y., brewer. Egelston said the company plans to bring all its production back to Portsmouth after recently adding new fermentation tanks to its Heritage Avenue facility.
The new Hampton brewery will allow Smuttynose to double its brewing capacity from 30,000 to 60,000 barrels annually.