Thursday, June 21, 2007
Smuttynose Brewery Could Leave New Hampshire for Friendlier Maine
I have been following from a distance the attempts of New Hampshire's Smuttynose Brewery to expand in the Portsmouth area. They make enjoyable beers and I made a couple of stops over the years at their sister brewpub, Portsmouth Brewing, in the city's historic district.
Portsmouth is a great New England sea coast town and having a brewery like Smuttynose just adds to its character and attractiveness. Smuttynose has grown steadily over the years and graduated from microbrewery status in 2006, when for the first time it crested above the 15,000 barrel mark.
With the growth has come the need for more space. One would think that the city of Portsmouth and the state of New Hampshire would do everything possible to accommodate the growth of a great company producing a homegrown product. But that has not been the case.
Smuttynose President Peter Egelston wanted to build a new brewery on Portsmouth's Lafayette Road, but the City Council denied a zoning change. The location is zoned for offices and research facilities. The brewery is classified as light industrial.
Now Kittery, Maine, is in talks with Smuttynose to bring the new facility, along with a restaurant, to their community. Smuttynose says it has also heard from some other communities, including Dover, N.H.
My suggestion would be for the Portsmouth City Council to get together this weekend over a case of Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale and figure a way to keep the company in town.