Four innovators who have transformed the historic U.S. Baird manufacturing facility into a unique craft brewery will host a ribbon cutting at their new venture, Two Roads Brewing Co., on Tuesday, October 16, at 11 a.m.
Governor Dannel Malloy, Stratford Mayor John Harkins, Stratford legislators, a representative from the office of U.S. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, local dignitaries, and officials from State agencies that helped fund the project will be on hand Tuesday to officially congratulate the Two Roads Brewing Co. owners on making their dream come true.
Two Roads Brewing Co. is the brainchild of partners Brad Hittle, Peter Doering, Phil Markowski and Clement Pellani, who envisioned a craft brewery, tasting room, retail area, and space for both private events and outdoor festivals in a refurbished facility at 1700 Stratford Ave.
They purchased the 101-year-old, 103,652-square-foot building with 6.6 acres for $2.85 million earlier this year, and have since overseen the $18 million conversion into a state-of-the-art microbrewery.
The company, whose name originated from the first line of a Robert Frost poem, is expected to bring 15 new jobs to Stratford during its first year of operation and a total of 70 jobs within the next eight years.
Mayor John Harkins noted that a unique private-public partnership helped bring Two Roads Brewing Co. to Stratford.
"This is an enormous investment in our community," Harkins said of the private investment combined with the State’s financial contribution to the venture.
Two Roads Brewing Co. received a $500,000 grant from the State Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) for site remediation; a $100,000 Small Business Express grant, also from DECD; and an additional $1 million loan from the Connecticut Development Authority.
"Revitalizing an idle but beautiful manufacturing building in Connecticut has been an integral part of our mission here at Two Roads Brewing," Hittle said. "With the strong support of the Town of Stratford and the State of Connecticut, we are close to fulfilling that mission."
Mayor Harkins also credited Governor Malloy and Stratford’s legislators for supporting changes this year to State liquor laws that paved the way for businesses like Two Roads Brewing. The changes included a provision allowing craft breweries to sell craft beer to wholesalers, to offer visitors tours with a sample of their product, to sell a glass of beer for visitors to enjoy, or to sell beer by the packages to customers to share at home.
While Two Roads Brewing Co. is not yet serving the public, Hittle said he hopes to be opening soon "so the public can come and not only sample our fine beers but also enjoy the magnificent, unique setting of our tasting room -- made possible with the support of the Town of Stratford and State of Connecticut."
The facility’s brewing operating will be directed by brew master Phil Markowski, who began his brewing career in 1989. For the last 16 years, Markowski was brew master for the Southampton, New York Publick House.
According to the company website, Markowski’s recipes have earned many national and international awards, including a total of 22 medals at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado.
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