Ground has been broken at 381 Broadway for Druthers Brewing Co., which will be the city’s only brew pub when it opens in June.
Chris Martell, one of the owners, said it has taken two years to get financing and city approval for the $2 million project.
Charles DePiro, brewmaster at the C.H. Evans Brewing Co. at the Albany Pump Station, is also an owner of the new business.
“We are under way,” Martell said of excavation and foundation work for a 5,100-square-foot, two-story building.
The property has a very narrow frontage between the former Shoe Depot building and the building next to it that currently houses the Swedish Hill Winery tasting room at 379 Broadway. The property opens up considerably about 100 feet from Broadway, so a 4,000-square-foot courtyard can be established for outside dining during warmer months.
“They have gotten all their approvals,” said Bradley Birge, the city’s administrator of planning and economic development. He said the only issue remaining is the type and size of a sign.
The new business will not be the city’s first brew pub. A brew pub was once located in a building on Phila Street that is now the Irish Times bar and restaurant. The Olde Saratoga Brewing Co., a brewery on Excelsior Avenue, also sells its locally brewed beers at a tap room connected to the brewery.
Martell said the brew pub building will be two stories high, with the center of the building open to the ceiling. The brewing tanks will be mounted on a steel deck on the second floor but visible from the first floor, which will include the bar and seating for dining.
A chef for the new eatery and pub will be announced in the near future. Martell described the food offerings as “peasant food with a flare.” He said the menu will range from creatively made macaroni and cheese to salmon.
The business has obtained 9,000 square feet of flooring and 40 timber beams from an old barn in Columbia County built in the mid-1840s. The bar and floor will be made using this old wood. The timber beams will be used, as well.
“We wanted to give it an old look,” Martell said.
He said the pub and patio will have a “beer garden atmosphere.”
“What we wanted to do was own everything,” Martell said about the new construction.
He said the cost of the brewing equipment is significant, and he and the 15 partners in the business didn’t want to locate the equipment in a leased property.
The name “Druthers” revolves around choice, as in “If I had my druthers.”
He said he and the other partners made their choice to put everything on the line and open the brew pub of their dreams.
He said ales and lagers brewed on site will be for people “making the choices to do the right thing.”
This summer, the pub will offer about six different beers, but the business hopes to expand to a dozen types of beers and ales.
The plan is to eventually start having some of the beers bottled and sold at supermarkets in the region.
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