By Alan J. Keays, VTDigger
RUTLAND – A Rutland brewpub is looking to grow its beer-making operation.
The city’s Board of Aldermen at a meeting Monday night, Nov. 20, approved several business incentives for Dale Patterson, owner of the downtown Hop’n Moose brewpub, to open a separate brewing and canning facility, to be known as Rutland Beer Works, on Granger Street.
“We’ve long aspired to see a larger brewery here in the city,” Brennan Duffy, Rutland Redevelopment Authority executive director, told board members at the meeting, adding, “[Patterson’s] looking to make a significant private investment in this new operation of over $300,000.”
The Hop’n Moose, Rutland’s first brewpub, opened in March 2014 on Center Street. The proposed 4,400-square-foot brewery and canning facility would be located just a short distance away at 136 Granger St., the former home of Countryside Glass Corp.
The new entity, Rutland Beer Works, would employ five to seven people. The Hop’n Moose brewpub, which will remain on Center Street, currently has 24 employees.
Patterson, speaking after the meeting Monday, said he hopes to have the new brewing and canning facility up and running before the end of the year.
He said the proximity of Granger Street to the pub on Center Street makes it an ideal location. Another plus of the Granger Street site, he added, is that it also has access to city water.
“City water is actually really good for brewing for whatever reasons,” Patterson said. “It’s exceptional.”
The new brewery will greatly increase the amount of beer that can be produced from the current 14 to 20 barrels a week, according to Patterson. “The new system will be five times bigger and much, much more efficient,” he added.
Asked how much beer the new facility could turn out, Patterson replied, “We don’t know, it depends how much we sell. We will have the capacity to make a lot of beer.”
The brewery facility of Granger Street won’t have a retail operation, at least right away, according to Patterson. However, it will allow him to get the beer he brews out to a wider market through stores and restaurants.
“We feel that restaurants in Rutland ought to serve Rutland Red Ale, and restaurants in Killington ought to serve Rutland Red Ale,” Patterson said, referring to his brewery’s signature ale. “This is Rutland, we ought to have Rutland Red.”
Patterson and the Hop’n Moose recently appeared in headlines around the state when Moose Head Breweries Limited, Canada’s largest independent beer maker, filed a federal lawsuit last month alleging trademark infringement over the use of the Rutland’s company moose image.
Patterson declined Monday night to specifically comment on that legal matter, but did say it’s not affecting his expansion plans.
The board has approved incentives for Patterson’s new operation that include tax stabilization over five years for business personal property at the Granger Street facility, starting at 50 percent of tax liability and increasing 10 percent annually for five years.
In addition, the board approved incentives dealing with water and wastewater as well as a $10,000 loan through the city’s Business Incentive Assistance Program. Patterson is also eligible for a separate loan of up to $50,000 through the city’s business incentive program, with his application subject to review by Heritage Family Credit Union.
Alderman William Notte said at the meeting that as someone who works downtown at Phoenix Books he sees and hears from people regularly on how much of a draw Hop’n Moose is for the city.
“I think this is great, it builds off success that this person has already had downtown,” Notte said “It takes some underutilized industrial area on Granger Street and puts that to good use.”
The alderman then added, “And at the end of the day, it’s also in a very good way, some positive advertisement for Rutland among people with disposable income.”
Duffy, the RRA executive director, said after the meeting that the word he would like to get out to the public is that Rutland is open for business.
“I think the message, if there is one, is that that Rutland is very interested in helping small businesses to grow,” he said. “We’ve created these business incentives from scratch … we want to get them out there, get the money on the street, and let people grow jobs.”
At least one alderman had a word of advice for Patterson if he comes to a board meeting in the future.
“Bring samples,” the board member told him.