Choosing A Location
Ok, now that we have a name and an order placed on some equipment. Its time find a location. Well, that's not exactly the order of how this all happened. I was looking for a location almost immediately. In fact that was what kicked this project into high gear. I had thought Morristown and Montclair would have been great location for a brewery a couple years ago and found out both towns were having breweries opening this year. It was now or never to find a spot and start.
Summit had everything I wanted a train stop for commuting young professionals, a need for more of a night life, and it was close to home. So I selected Summit for my targeted search. I wanted to offer that boutique/foot traffic feel and I wanted to be able to co-exist well with the existing businesses.
Next was finding a space in Summit. Now there were only a handful of options that would work for my format. Size, zoning, and permission for "wet use" from the landlord limited that even further.With such limited options I was concerned that perhaps I had made a mistake in focusing in Summit but what really made me stick with the town and eventual find the space was the local government. The first time I called them I was expecting a maze of departments not willing to commit to an answer and/or lots of "I don't knows", and "probably nots". However I was very wrong. I found who I needed to speak to almost immediately. Summit was very excited about the idea of having a brewery and basically said yes the first phone call and updated an ordinance to allow breweries downtown just to make sure at their next meeting!
So Summit it was. There were 3 spots I was looking at. One was bigger and had great growth potential but was a little off the beaten path. I was ok with this but the property owner sold it amidst negotiations and the new owners weren't too responsive to the idea (and by that I mean they just didn't respond....ever).
The next spot was also bigger and had great foot traffic but was a bit pricey and needed a lot of structural work. So much so that it would have delayed this project so long it might have died on the hops vine (which is technically not a vine but a "bine" but that's a different post). These delays concerned me at this point especially when I heard another brewery was opening in New Providence.
Then there was the 3rd option. It had great foot traffic but it was a little smaller than I had first planned for. But with some back an forth I was able to get the basement space next door for additional brewing space. This freed up the first floor for almost entirely tap room space. The price tag was a lot easier to swallow than the other 2 spaces too.
So we had a spot with great foot traffic, restaurants surrounding us, ample parking behind us and in the garage across the street, a very supportive local government and a landlord that would return my calls. We were nomads no longer. We had a place to hang our hat and more importantly put all the equipment. Now all we had to do is make it into a brewery.
The next post. Designing A Brewery
“The inescapable consequences of postponement, were almost too bitter to contemplate.” ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower's memoirs on the decision to no longer delay the invasion of Europe.
Owner and Founder