By Katy Savage
PROCTORSVILLE—An 1850s mill building that’s sat vacant about 20 years is about to become a brewery.
Outer Limits Brewing, a 160-seat pub and tasting room offering English beers and wood-fired pizza, is preparing to open next spring.
Wesley Tice, 41, and his wife ,Taylor Shaw, 32, purchased the 8,000 square foot building at 60 Village Green in 2017.
“As soon as we saw the building we thought, ‘this would be perfect,’” said Shaw. “It screamed brewery to us.”
The interior of the two-story brick building has been stripped down. Most it will be rebuilt this winter. The large basement will be used as the brewery while the pub will be upstairs.
“Now that it’s actually coming to fruition, it’s pretty cool,” said Shaw.
Tice and Shaw were recently awarded $147,325 in state tax credits to support their $1.2 million project. They were one of 16 people who received tax credits from the Downtown and Village Center tax credit program, which totaled $2.8 million this year.
The credits are awarded to buildings that “don’t make a lot of economic sense,” said Chris Cochran, a spokesperson for the Department of Housing and Community Development.
Some recipients use the money to pay mortgages. Others use the money on window and door upgrades, aesthetics and handicap- accessibility costs to bring existing buildings up to code.
“They’re older buildings and for many reasons they haven’t been maintained in the ways communities would like to see them maintained,” said Cochran.
Since the tax credit programs began, more than 350 projects in 145 communities have received almost $28 million.
About 40 projects applied to receive funds this year. Springfield was awarded $365,000 to upgrade an apartment building. A housing project in Middlebury was awarded $31,017 to create units in an historic building. The former Brownsville General Store in West Windsor was awarded $51,444 to turn the store into butchery.
Eric Nesbitt, who is one of the investors in the Brownsville building, said the tax credits will help put back a community space in the center of town.
Tice, who has a farming and landscaping background, turned his passion for growing into the beer business two years ago. He learned how to make his own beer when he started working at Shipyard in Portland, Maine. While Tice will focus on brewing, Shaw, who has a culinary background, will use her skills in the pub.
Tice and Shaw want the pub to be a place for people to unwind from politics and the “craziness of life.”
“The project is very much about the vibe,” Tice said.
Tice said his beer will be unique. Tice is working with mentor Alan Pugsley, a renowned brewer, to install a Peter Austin Brick Kettle Brew system—one of about 130 in the world.
“It’s a pretty rugged, simple basic brewing system that was invented in England,” said Tice.
The hands-on kettle system will have open fermentation and closed fermentation.
Tice is not interested in competing in the beer that’s already in the state.
“My true passion is dark beers,” Tice said. “I want to help them evolve.”
Tice and Shaw want to eventually grow their own hops. They plan to sell their beer in local stores.
Tice and Shaw have worked with an extensive list of architects and engineers. A real estate advisor helped them work through Act 250 permits.
Cavendish Town Manager Brendan McNamara, who grew up in town, remembers when the mill building was video and game rental store called Wild Bill’s.
“The project is phenomenal,” McNamara said. “It will be great for the downtown area of Cavendish. The community is rallying around it.”
Renovations will continue through the winter. Tice and Shaw plan to hire 11 people. Until then, Tice is experimenting with beer flavors in his garage.
“I have a lot of pressure on me to make really good beer,” said Tice.
Photo by Katy Savage
Wesley Tice is preparing to open his new brewery, Outer Limits Brewing, in Proctorsville next spring.