Bennington microbrewery may open site in Manchester

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MANCHESTER — The town's Development Review Board is reviewing a proposal to convert the former site of an appliance store to a new microbrewery and 20-seat tap room.

Northshire Brewery — which currently operates a facility in Bennington on County Street that will be "retained," according to meeting minutes from July — proposes to occupy the 3,060-square-foot building at 390 Depot St. behind Manchester Discount Beverage and make a variety of improvements to the building and site, including a reconfigured parking area and a refurbished deck and patio, a town planning staff memorandum says.

If its plans are approved by the board, the Manchester brewery, at least initially, would not release wastewater generated by the brewing process into the town's sewer system. Instead, project engineer Frank Parent told the board last week, the wastewater will be pumped into a 300-gallon storage tank at the facility and hauled offsite.

The arrangement is intended to allay the town's concern about brewery wastewater disturbing the balance of the municipal system, Parent said. Once the facility opens and takes regular samples of the wastewater, it will share the information with the town engineer and other staff, who will help determine whether to authorize a connection to the municipal system.

The brewery also intends to install a freestanding sign atop what is currently a parking space used by Manchester Discount Beverage customers. "Although an agreement between the owner of the beverage center site and the applicant was submitted with the application, this parking space actually falls within the Depot Street right-of-way," according to the staff memo, which notes that Town Manager John O'Keefe "welcomed" the potential conversion of the space to "a landscaped island with a sign" provided that certain conditions are met.

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Northshire Brewery's arrival would "answer a long-expressed community desire for a brewery downtown," according to the staff memo.

The business announced on social media in February that its Bennington tasting room had closed as work on the Manchester location progressed. The latter location will perform "limited brewing" compared with the Bennington location, which will produce a "higher volume," Parent said last week.

The project will be discussed again by the town's Design Advisory Committee at a meeting on Sept. 25 and at a Development Review Board meeting the following week.

Northshire Brewery didn't immediately respond to an emailed interview request on Monday night.

Contact Luke Nathan at lnathan@benningtonbanner.com.


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