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Berlin Beer Company gets alcohol license, reduced entertainment hours

The Berlin Beer Company is getting closer to opening on Broad Street in downtown Berlin last week with an alcoholic beverage license approval from the Worcester County Board of License Commissioners.

By Charlene Sharpe, Associate Editor

The Berlin Beer Company moved another step closer to opening last week with an alcoholic beverage license approval from a local board.

The Worcester County Board of License Commissioners (BLC) on Wednesday unanimously approved a beer wine and liquor license for the Berlin Beer Company. Concerns from neighbors, however, prompted the board to reduce entertainment hours for the establishment from noon to 8 p.m. as opposed to the later hours requested by proprietor Adam Davis.

“You’re better off to get in with the vibe of the town than alienate the town,” BLC member Reese Cropper said.

Davis told the board this week about his efforts to restore the 100-year-old building at 115 Broad St., the former Southern States, and his plan to operate it as a brewery. He said the building had originally been the town’s freight train station and had required extensive renovations.

“We redid everything,” he said. “We tried to retain as much of the history as we could.”

He said the craft brewery would produce about 1,000 barrels a year. The facility has a 500 square foot kitchen and will feature food. Davis said he planned to have family games and entertainment both inside and outside. Though his initial application sought to have entertainment until midnight, he told the board he modified that request in response to concerns from neighbors. He said Steve Green, a town councilman who lives adjacent to the brewery, organized a meeting between Davis and neighbors. During that discussion, Davis agreed to seek reduced entertainment hours.

“It went well,” he said of the meeting. “It was just an open discussion. We want to be good neighbors. We want our neighbors to be our customers.”

Green sent a letter to the board in support of the modifications agreed to after the meeting with Davis. The letter read in part, “After hearing our concerns about noise emanating from the property as well as potential quality of life impacts, Mr. Davis agreed to modify his entertainment request. … We were pleased with the owner’s good faith attempts …”

Davis told the board the brewery would generally be open from 10 or 11 a.m. until 9 or 10 p.m. 

“We’re not trying to have a concert venue,” he said.

Richard Holland, part owner of the Adkins Company, asked about parking at the brewery. Davis said the facility was required by the town to have 28 spaces and it had 30 spaces. Holland said that could be a problem. He said the Adkins Company let the public park on its property on the weekends. Holland is worried that on Friday afternoons, however, when Adkins Company is open and the brewery is open, there could be issues. 

“We don’t want to be in a situation where people are parking on us to go to the beer hall and we’re not able to get to our materials,” Holland said. “Our only alternative in the future, if this is not a careful scenario with Berlin beer hall, there’s a right of way down Harrison Avenue. We own all of Harrison Avenue with this right of way. We would put a fence next to the right of way so there would be no parking… We don’t want to have a confrontation problem. If we do, we’ll take action.”

Oak Park told the board he’d lived in his home adjacent to Berlin Beer Company for 47 years and wanted to make sure the new business didn’t bring noise to the area.

“By definition our neighborhood is quiet and free from noise,” he said. 

Neighbor Don Ferguson told the board he supported the business but encouraged Davis to work with a professional sound installation company so noise wasn’t a problem. 

Davis told the board he’d added a fence in the back of the property and had enclosed the loading dock area to ensure noise wasn’t an issue. 

“This is a craft beer brewery,” he said. “We’re not attracting the college crowd. This is a premium product. We shouldn’t have to worry about the type of crowd that would be causing a ruckus.”

BLC member Marty Pusey acknowledged that Davis had requested a lot of entertainment. BLC member Charles Nichols said rather than including a DJ on his list of entertainment, Davis should simply call the board to request permission for a DJ if the facility was holding a special event such as a wedding. Cropper made a motion to allow up to three-piece acoustic music from noon to 8 p.m. outside and inside. The board voted 3-0 in support of the motion. 

This story appears in the May 23, 2024, print edition of the Bayside Gazette.