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Salt Point Brewery

Salt Point Brewery opened in the little building next to Rogue's Harbor Inn a year ago last April.  In just over a year they have outgrown their space, so owners Chris and Sarah Hesse and Camilo Bohorquez are planning to build a new brewery building on a plot of town center land across the street from the Lansing town ball fields.  The brewery/restaurant will be the first commercial enterprise on the town center land.

"When we first dreamed up this plan we wanted it to be here in Lansing," Chris told Lansing Planning Board members Monday. "We live in the town we felt it would be a nice addition if there were something like that.  We waited and waited and nobody else did it. So we decided to do it ourselves."

The partners closed on 3 1/2 acres of town center land about a week ago, two of which are wetlands on the western side.  The remaining acreage will contain the brewery building, a parking lot, plus outdoor amenities such as a band stand.  The Hesses say they plan to restore the Lansing Center Trail along the western and southern borders of their property.  Chris says the building will probably be about 4,000 square feet, divided about equally between the tasting room/restaurant and brewery.  A large window will look into the brewery from the restaurant. 

At any given times eight beers with names like Cedar Creek Pilsner, Raptor IPA, or East Shore ESB are on tap in the tasting room.  The owners are hoping to expand that capacity to 10 or 12.  The much larger brewery will also help them expand their wholesale business, and Chris says they are considering a mobile canner so they can begin selling four-packs or six-packs, both retail and wholesale.

Chris says the workforce may double from the 3 1/2 full-time-equivalent that includes the owners and three bartenders (two part time).  He says the new facility will need at least two people each day instead of the one that can keep the smaller current  tasting room open.

"We'll definitely need more people behind the bar," Sarah says. "Probably two on at least half of the days in the week, plus somebody regularly in the kitchen, a brewer's assistant, servers...  Oh the brewery side right now we have helpers who come in on an informal arrangement, but its very clear that if we're brewing more times a week than we are now we will need at least a three quarter time person to be in the back, too, on the production side."

Portable dividers will be used to create space for semi-private parties and events, and an outdoor bandstand will lend itself to concerts and events.  Sarah says that a surprise in the brewery's first year was calls for modest-sized parties of about 30 people.  The library's annual party was taking place as the Hesses addressed the Planning Board Monday, and the brewery has been hosting monthly events like energy conversations once a month, a Friends of Salt Point night (where a percentage of the proceeds go to projects on Salt Point, which is maintained by volunteers).  These events are a bit of a squeeze in the current location, especially because the brewery is also open to the public many of those times.

But Sarah told the planning board that they will not have live music after 9pm, especially at the outdoor bandstand.  And the kinds of events the brewery hosts will likely fit a niche that won't directly compete with existing events establishments.

"Our vision has always been not to do what Crossroads is doing, and not to do what other places are doing, but to bring something different to the community," Chris says. "To provide a little more variety and a different feel."

The restaurant currently serves a limited menu that favors locally grown and produced foods such as Moroccan Vegetable Soup with grilled cheese, a local cheese plate, cheese steak and eggs, and smoked salmon on a bagel, among others.

"My hope is to get a pizza oven and start offering pizzas, and salads and a similar local appetizer menu to what we have right now.  We'll keep it fresh in winter add a soup, occasionally do a brunch, but not have a full four page menu," says Sarah. "I hope to eventually pair with somebody who wants to run a full restaurant there who shares our vision for sustainable, healthy, approachable food that pairs well with our beers."

Salt Point BreweryA preliminary plan showing the 3 1/2 acre property and placement of the brewery building. The Hesses told the Planning Board Monday that they are liikely looking at a smaller parking lot with a grassy buffer area and trees to help shield Milton Meadows from the brewery and provide overflow parking, and outbuildings including a band stand.

Monday's meeting was an informal look at preliminary ideas.  The Hesses said they are still working on design ideas, and the sketch plan and renderings are already out of date.  The new idea is for the back of the building to face Auburn Road (State Road 34B), with the restaurant on the west side of the building and a parking lot and the restaurant entrance on the north side.  The new building will more than double their current space, allowing for more tanks on the production side, and more space for a restaurant, including the beer tasting bar and a kitchen on the west side.  It will be heated with heat pumps.  The parking lot will be accessed from the new Louise Bement Lane, which leads to the Milton meadows project to the north that is expected to be completed later this summer.

The Hesses also own a construction company that will serve as the general contractor for the project.  Chris says he hopes come back with a final site plan next month, and hopes to break ground in October or November with an eye toward opening this time next year.

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