By Katelyn Barcellos
FAIR HAVEN — Something new is brewing in Fair Haven’s business district.
The Fair Haven Planning Commission has granted approval to open the town’s only microbrewery, named for the first slate quarry in Vermont, at 95 Main St., formerly the Greek House of Pizza.
MRI technologist Jon Meigs and retired Hydeville postmaster Pete Heilig said they’re opening Scotch Hill Brewery to help rejuvenate the town.
“I wasn’t sure if it was something I wanted to do, but I figured I’d give it a try,” Meigs said. “This area seems somewhat dry, so to speak. It’s a good opportunity to see if I can get something like that going here.”
Scotch Hill Brewery is slated to open in about six months, Meigs said. The interior is 2,000 square feet, with room for 40 customers. The restaurant will be spruced up with a new kitchen, bar and handicapped-accessible bathrooms.
Beer would not be sold to distributors, town planners were told, and would be available only at the brewery. Both “crowlers” (32-ounce cans) and “growlers” (64-ounce jugs) would be available.
The co-founders said they’ve had 100 percent support from local residents.
“The town is excited,” Heilig said. “This isn’t going to be just another bar. We hope it will make Fair Haven into a destination stop.”
Starting a microbrewery has not come without its challenges, they said.
“It’s twice as complicated as it is expensive,” Heilig said. “This location is ideal, but you have to meet federal and state and local permitting. It’s not easy.”
Heilig said Scotch Hill will eventually have as many brews as possible on tap.
“We’d like to start with six brews, and increase from there,” Meigs said.
Scotch Hill will serve light fare, possibly Mexican food, and Heilig said they plan to eventually host live music and have outdoor seating.
“We’d like to be unique,” Meigs said. “We’ll find our identity.”
Meigs started home-brewing beer and mead (a type of honey wine) seven years ago, and hopes to serve a variety of different brews at Scotch Hill.
“Pilsners, Belgian saisons, German heffeweizens, New England-type IPA’s, as well,” he said. “We want to have a winter warmer in the colder months, and a summer-type brew. Stouts and porters, too.”
Both said they’d like to experiment with different types of yeasts and hops to create unusual brews, and they’d like to use as many local ingredients as they can.
“We’d like to experiment with different flavors and see what works,” Meigs said.
Fair Haven resident Pam Berryhill said she’s excited for the new addition to downtown Fair Haven.
“I’d love a brewery!” she said. “My husband would love it too. This town is starting to become what we moved here for…18 years ago.”