Donovan Bailey, founder and head brewer at Down the Road Beer Co., always envisioned a taproom as part of his company, with a name that evokes a cozy, neighborhood watering hole. Early next year, the Newton native will finally make that dream a reality with a tasting room in Everett.
Instead of being down the road from his own home, DTR will be less than a mile from the other boozy destinations of the burgeoning Fermentation District, home to Night Shift, Bone Up Brewing, and Short Path Distillery.
On track for an early spring 2017 opening, Down the Road has taken over a 12,000-square foot facility in a developing, industrial neighborhood. About 8,000 of those square feet will house a 1,200-barrel brewing system and a canning line, with 4,000 square feet dedicated to the taproom and retail space. Bailey has also hinted at the potential for an outdoor beer garden, and he dreams of installing a rooftop deck.
Bailey got started in the beer industry with contract brewing relationships. In 2015, Down the Road brewed out of Ipswich Ale Brewery (formerly Mercury Brewing), then switched to BrewMaster’s Tavern in Williamsburg. Bailey has found a place in a crowded and growing craft beer market, with his own takes on traditional European styles, like a Nut Brown Ale, and a new fall release, Festbier. Down the Road has also been recognized for its strange and beautiful label art, featuring characters like Pukwudgie and Baba Yaga.
Last year, Down the Road pumped out 1,100 barrels of beer, which has found its way to retail shelves across Massachusetts, and it’s on track to more than double that output in 2016, Boston Business Journal reported.
In the meantime, a lot of construction needs to get done. Bailey hopes taproom build-out will be completed by December, and he’s already a few months into the permitting process.
With the new space, Bailey and crew will move a portion of their production in-house, and benefit from on-site sales. Down the Road will continue its contract partnerships but will use the taproom to complement the distribution sales, Bailey says.
With a higher margin for profit and tighter control over the product, Bailey is excited to grow his brand in the taproom. However, it won’t replace distribution. In fact, Bailey would like to continue expanding further west in the state, and down the Cape. The taproom will help improve the brewery’s marketing, though.
“We want to connect with people, face to face,” Bailey says.
The new space will have communal, beer hall-style seating, a full bar with 10-16 draft lines, and a bar for growler and merchandise sales. Bailey plans to devote a significant chunk of the taproom to arcade games, and a small stage for live music. The taproom itself will be separated from the production side by a glass wall so customers can get a peek at the production process of brewing beer. Bailey also plans to host food trucks outside so brewery customers can grab a bite to eat.
Most of the flagship and seasonal Down the Road beer will be served at the taproom, though Bailey also plans to brew one-offs, experimentals, and taproom exclusives.
“I would love to start a barrel-aging program,” Bailey says, and he even wants to start distilling spirits in the future.
Right now, though, he and the Down the Road team are focusing on getting the taproom ready for their customers.
“Down the Road is about people taking ownership of their drinks,” he says, and hopes that the taproom will inspire similar sentiments. He has been excited by the rapid growth of Everett, both as an alcohol destination and as a residential area. Several apartment units will be popping up around the taproom in the coming years, and he plans to keep Down the Road family-friendly and comfortable.
Once it opens, Down the Road will serve beer all day on weekends, with some evening hours on Wednesdays and/or Thursdays. Follow the progress on social media.
Down the Road Brewing Co., 6 Ashland St., Everett, 617-454-4255, downtheroadbrewery.com.
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