Smuttynose scaling project down

Wants to reduce restaurant to 120 seats

By Patrick Cronin

Hampton Union, Tuesday, Auagust 10,2010

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

HAMPTON -- The owners of Smuttynose Brewing Co. came before the Planning Board this week with plans to scale-down their proposed restaurant as part of their plans to construct a new brewing facility and relocate to Hampton.

The board accepted jurisdiction over the new plans Wednesday, Aug. 3, and sent them out for departmental review.

The board also voted to give owners Peter Egelston and Joanne Francis a one-year extension on their plans to construct the restaurant/brewery on a 14-acre site off Towle Farm Road.

Steven McHenry of McHenry Architecture said they are proposing four modifications to the original plans.

The main change is they want to convert the existing farmhouse on the property into the restaurant.

"We did not have a specific use for the farmhouse," McHenry said. "We didn't know what to do with it, but we knew we wanted to save it."

Originally the plan was to convert the large barn on the property into a 280-seat restaurant.

McHenry said the farmhouse will be relocated to the area of the barn and converted into a 120 seat restaurant.

"It's considered to be a safer bet to open on a smaller scale with a smaller restaurant," McHenry said. "It gives an excellent use for the building itself and it's easily converted."

The barn, McHenry, said will be stabilized structurally and only used for occasional proposes and events.

"We don't have a specific plan," Egelston said. "I can say it won't be a wedding factory. We see it used for smaller scale catered events or public events like an Octoberfest."

Other changes to the plan include the reconfiguration of the parking lots and new standalone structure to be used for pretreatment of the brewing waste prior to it going into the town's sewer system.

Eric Weinrieb of Altus Engineering Inc. told the board they have also applied for an Economic Development Administration grant.

The money, he said, will help Smuttynose finance the installation of water and sewer extensions to the Towle Farm Road location to handle the between 20,000 and 40,000 gallons of water and waste flow the brewery will generate daily.

The Planning Board continued the hearing until Sept. 15.

Egelston hopes the approval process for the new plans will go smoothly and that the project will get started by the end of the year.

"Honestly, if I had a magic wand in my hand, we would have started tomorrow," Egelston said. "But realistically we are hoping to put a shovel in the ground before the end of the year."

Smuttynose is currently located at 225 Heritage Ave. in Portsmouth in a 25,000-square-foot facility.

They decided to move to Hampton to expand its operations.

Egelston started the company in 1994. In 2006, the company produced 15,000 barrels — the most in its history, upgrading the company from the "micro brewery" category to "regional independent brewery" status.