Ian Lord, St. Albans Messenger
ST. ALBANS — The relocation and expansion of 14th Star Brewing Company within a downtown shopping center was the subject of a public hearing held by the St. Albans City Development Review Board (DRB) Monday night at city hall.
Now located in a much smaller facility on Lower Newton Street, 14th Star has signed a lease to expand its operations into the former bowling alley location in the St. Albans Shopping Plaza on North Main Street.
It is seeking a conditional use permit for a manufacturing operation.
The location has 15,700 square feet of space. Eleven thousand of those would be given to manufacturing and storage, with the remainder used for a taproom, small kitchen, restrooms, vestibules, and office, explained Norman Stanislaus, property manager at the shopping center.
Brewery owner Steve Gagner could not be present for the hearing. Matt Kehaya spoke on his behalf.
Kehaya said Gagner plans to brew about 6,000 barrels per year for the next few years, eventually raising production to 45,000 barrels annually. The operation uses natural gas for fuel and releases steam as a by-product of the brewing process.
Gagner plans to add a taproom with a limited menu, according to Kehaya. “The taproom isn’t necessary for us, aside from bringing people to St. Albans,” said Kehaya. “We’re not looking to compete with the people we sell our beer to already.”
Truck traffic is limited to one pick up of beer per week and two grain deliveries per month, with occasional equipment deliveries, Kehaya said.
Gordon Winters, owner of the neighboring Ace store, asked about odor from the grain.
Kehaya said he didn’t want to promise there would never be odor, but that with the grain stored inside odor should be minimal. The steam resulting from the brewing process is odorless, he explained.
Joanne Chambers, who lives on Messenger Street, asked about truck traffic. She wanted to be certain trucks follow the rules and turn left when exiting the plaza onto Messenger Street.
The DRB, a quasi-judicial entity, will deliberate privately before issuing a decision on the permit.