March 30, 2016
An eye-catching grain silo cues countdown for brewery's opening
Those entering Dorchester from the western edge of Uphams Corner will be hard pressed to miss the shining three-story grain silo and 25-foot long metal “Dorchester” sign splashed across the caramel-bricked Massachusetts Avenue building.
And that’s just the way the Dorchester Brewing Company wants it, said CEO Matthew Malloy, an Ashmont resident. “We’re almost the gateway to Dorchester, and we want to make sure that people understand there’s a lot of pride here and there’s something wonderful happening here.”
Malloy and Holly Irgens, who head up the start-up company alongside Todd Charbonneau and Travis Lee, stood in the cavernous facility as workers continued working on the new concrete floors awaiting the $1.5 million of brewing equipment stored in the back of the warehouse.
Dorchester Brewing is a contract brewing facility; Malloy compares the model to ZipCar and prefers the term “partner brewing.” Small and medium brewers can use the 25,000-square foot space to brew, bottle/can/keg, and distribute their wares.
Construction is moving at good clip, Malloy and Irgens said. Inside 1246 Massachusetts Ave., the floors, windows, and bathrooms in the old M A Peacard Co.’s sheet metal contractor building are expected to be completed in the next week. And another 12 feet of stainless steel will be added to the show-stopping grain silo outside, which will top out at 28 feet. The silo can store 50,000 pounds of malt, which should prove advantageous to small craft breweries signing on to the full-service operation.
Microbrewers could be saving around $500 a month on malt storage with the silo, Malloy said. It will also save Dorchester Brewing from the need to buy in smaller proportions; they’ll pass the bulk savings down to their partners.
Large-scale manufacturing is expected to begin in July, Malloy said. The 2,000-square foot tasting room may open in June and the first pilot batches of beer are likely to come down the line in May. “We’ll have a sampling of four or five customers to start, but we have a 20-tap system,” he said. “So, as our brewers rotate in and out different beers, the taps will always be changing, so there will always be something new and wonderful to try. But the most important thing is it will be the freshest beer you’ll ever have.”
They are keeping much of the distinctive work local, with a Dorchester company installing the large front-facing windows. Dorchester carpenter Gary Barsomian-Dietrich is constructing the intricate inner tasting room bar out of wood reclaimed from the old sheet-metal building.
Malloy said they plan to bring in 20 to 30 people from the neighborhood to help run the facility. “This is a commercial brewery that also happens to have a tasting room associated with it,” he said. “It’s almost like two businesses in one.”
Craft beer fans who like the Dorchester Brewing Company’s Facebook or follow @DorchesterBrew on Twitter will get first notice of new beer coming down the line and an invite to the grand opening. Once operations are underway, followers will see a heads-up like: “This Thursday, it’s coming out of the tank,” Malloy said. “If you want to try the freshest IPA, come down Thursday at 5 [p.m.] and we’ll be tapping the first keg.”
Craning the heavy steel brewing equipment into place is still on the agenda, as is constructing a deck out front. Attached over that deck will be a decorative touch that would only be added by folks who are “super passionate about Dorchester,” Malloy said.
A flashy and prominent feature was recently approved: The 6-foot-tall, 25-foot-long “Dorchester“ sign set to grace the building’s front. The artwork was sketched and a signmaker is now going through the “tedious process of putting it together” out of anodized aluminum with a stainless steel edge. Irgens estimates the metal script will go into place in about a month.
The company logo will bedeck the towering silo, but it will take second billing to the neighborhood.
“It’s a matter of pride for us, since we’re doing this in Dorchester,” Malloy said. “It comes down to celebrating where we are and who we are.”