By MADELINE HUGHES
Foam Brewers will soon start selling kegs and cans from its Hinesburg warehouse on Friday afternoons.
On Dec. 18, the Development Review Board unanimously approved the company’s November application for an accessory use at its cheese plant facility. The company is already permitted for brewing beer, which is considered light manufacturing. The limited retail sales will be a side activity.
“We are excited everyone was cool about (the permitting process),” said co-owner Todd Haire said. “The town couldn’t have been better helping a small business like us.”
The company was founded by Haire, Robert Grim, Dani Casey, Sam Keane and Jon Farmer on the Burlington waterfront in 2016, and expanded to Hinesburg in early 2017. Foam currently operates a 5,200 square-foot factory in the former cheese plant in the middle of the village.
The Hinesburg production space has fermenters and a canning line, and began brewing beer about a year ago, Haire said. Adding a second production facility in Hinesburg allowed the brewer to expand production, paving the way for selling kegs and cans at the Burlington location in July 2017. Foam has can releases three out of the seven days a week they are open by the waterfront.
The request approved last week allows the brewer to sell closed cans and kegs for three hours a week. The plan is to conduct sales from the parking lot from 4 to 7 p.m. on Fridays.
“We can our beer here, so we figured we should sell some cans one day a week,” Haire said. “It’s a great community here with everything in the village, and not everyone goes down to Burlington.”
Haire, who lives in Hinesburg, said the company originally looked to stay closer to Burlington when scouting a place to expand. The space in Hinesburg made sense and the water quality was also a plus, he added.
The Friday sales won’t begin until January 18, the Friday after the town approval goes into effect. The DRB decision is official 30 days after it’s made.
“We can our beer one day a week on Thursday,” Haire explained. “Our plan is to have cans available for purchase every Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. All information on what beer and how much we have available will be posted on Facebook and Instagram weekly. This will be for to-go cans only. We don’t have a tap room (in Hinesburg), so we won’t be offering samples or consumption on the premise.”
This decision is the twelfth Development Review Board approval at the building since the former Saputo Cheese Plant closed in 2008 following a fire, according to the board’s records. Since the plant closed, a variety of businesses have moved into the space. Now only 4,000 of the 86,000 square feet in the building are not in use, records show. Other tenants include Vermont Smoke and Cure and Green Mountain Organic Creamery.
The Friday evening timing for can and keg sales to the public means that parking should work in Foam’s favor, as that is when workers in the complex are headed home.
The Development Review Board’s approval depended on parking and traffic not being an issue.