Dewey Beer Co. eyes industrial site for expansion
HABERSON — Dewey Beer Company is looking to expand beyond its overflowing Dewey Beach taproom and microbrewery operation into the Kings Landing Business Park to meet the hot demand for its beer and give it room to start distribution.
“We have simply run out of beer. People are trying to get our product every day by calling, emailing and messaging us, but it’s only in Dewey Beach right now,” Smith told the Sussex County Planning Commission. “This building can handle the growth we are looking for…we’d like to distribute our product. But we don’t have the opportunity because we can’t keep up with demand with what we have now.”
Earlier this year, the small company made waves by beating out Dogfish Head Brewery as Delaware’s top brewery by popular beer-drinking app Untapped.
Dewey Beer Company has applied for a conditional use permit to open a secondary location out of the business park on 18499 Harbeson Rd, according to county documents. The microbrewery is looking at signing a 10-year lease for 9,900 square feet, with options to renew, according to Keith Walpole of R & R Commercial Reality, the firm that represents the property.
The lease is contingent upon approvals with Sussex County government, so there is no firm date when Dewey Beer Company would open their doors out of the industrial park.
Space in the industrial park would triple Dewey Beer Company’s existing floor space. Founded in 2015, Dewey Beer Company opened out of a 3,000 square-foot storefront in downtown Dewey Beach that used to be Bubba’s Grill and Theo’s Family Restaurant.
Nearly 90% of the building would be focused on beer production rather than serving beer. A sizeable brewery production with room for roughly a dozen fermenters and other equipment, a grain room, and areas for canning and labeling product are included in the proposed floor plan.
About 80% to 90% of the beer production would be moved off-site, according to Fred Townsend, the attorney who represented Dewey Beer Company during the county Planning Commission meeting.
To keep up with the constant demand, Smith said Dewey Beer Company needed to find a spot to grow with it.
“Every year, we found some way to expand our production slowly but eventually we hit the back door – literally,” Smith told Sussex County officials. “We took out a bathroom and put in an extra fermenter. We need a new space to help ease that burden.”
Unlike the Dewey Beer Company’s existing location, there are no plans to open a restaurant in Kings Landing Business Park. There is a possibility of bringing food trucks to the site. There are plans for an indoor tasting pub and room for 16 tables outside.
Smith declined to comment when contacted by the Delaware Business Times while his application was pending before the county government.. But did say that Dewey Beer Company will “always be our home.”
The Sussex County Council will hold a hearing on the Dewey Beer Company’s application on Aug. 11 at 1:30 p.m.
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