Dewey Beer Co. chooses location for expansion
A proposed microbrewery in Harbeson would be the solution to Dewey Beer Company’s beer needs not only to supply its restaurant on Route 1 in Dewey Beach, but also to enable distribution.
“We need more beer. We cannot meet the demand. We need a new space. We slowly increased production, but ran out of space. We have found an area in Harbeson that will manage the growth, ”said Brandon Smith, managing director and co-founder of Dewey Beer Co., which has operated the restaurant for five years.
Dewey Beer Company LLC has filed a conditional use application to operate a 9,900 square foot microbrewery in Kings Landing Business Park at 18499 Harbeson Road, north of the Highway 9 intersection.
Although the business park is in a C-1 commercial zone, under the current county code, a microbrewery is not a permitted use, said Deputy County Attorney Vince Robertson. Other uses, such as a restaurant or shopping center, could be built with a sitemap review and without a public hearing.
Under the proposed plan, nearly 90 percent of the building would be used for beer production, with a small retail area and seating inside. Sixteen tables are included in the site plan in an outdoor patio.
Fred Townsend, lawyer for the plaintiff, said the establishment would not have a restaurant but would offer a tasting room. In addition, the applicant requests that the use of a food truck be included in the conditional use.
“About 80 to 90 percent of the beer will be moved off site,” Townsend said. “It’s a low-intensity operation.
The requester is asking that the hours be 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily, but public hours for most of the year would be 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Concerns expressed in letters of objection from some residents of The Meadows of Beaver Creek community relate to sewage and odors from the brewing process.
Artesian Wastewater Management Inc. would provide water and sewer services on site.
Michael Reilly, head brewer and partner, said the operation would use roughly the same amount of water as a large restaurant or four to seven homes, with all wastewater being contained in the facility and discharged into the sewers.
“The water is not toxic. It’s rinse water like wastewater from a restaurant, ”he said.
Reilly said there could be a bakery-like smell for about an hour each day when steam is released.
“We operate in a densely populated area in Dewey Beach and have never had a complaint,” Reilly said.
Commissioner Kim Hoey Stevenson said some residents had expressed concern over noise from outdoor entertainment. Reilly said that on rare occasions acoustic music could be played on the patio, but not on a regular basis.
“It’s not an attraction for people to drink on the spot. The use is not intended to attract people with events and music, ”Townsend said.
Robertson reminded commissioners that the Delaware Office of Alcoholic Beverage Control Commissioner would regulate the operation and what is allowed in regards to entertainment. “And federal and state regulations dictate how much they can produce,” he said.
Hoey Stevenson also asked how many parking spaces will be available. Reilly said there would be three to five employees and guests would have access to more than 80 parking spaces in the business park.
The committee postponed the vote to a future meeting. Sussex County Council has scheduled a hearing on the application for 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, August 11, at the County Administration Building, 2 The Circle, Georgetown.