Lit­tle Red Barn Brew­ery to move into Edge Works build­ing

The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT) - - FRONT PAGE - By Ben Lam­bert wlam­bert@reg­is­ter­ci­t­i­ @WLam­bertRC on Twit­ter

WINSTED » The Lit­tle Red Barn Brew­ery own­ers are plan­ning to come to the city and take up res­i­dence at The Winsted Edge Works, as they en­joy a surge of sup­port from com­mu­nity res­i­dents and chase their pas­sion.

Nils John­son, and Matthew and Nathan Day, own­ers of the brew­ery, are child­hood friends. They grew up in Barkham­sted and New Hart­ford, at­tended Re­gion 7 schools, and are now en­gag­ing in this ven­ture, spurred by a shared love of brew­ing and beer.

Matthew Day said his wife gave him a brew­ing kit seven years ago. His twin brother Nathan and John­son both be­came in­ter­ested as well, and the three started a club, meet­ing once a month to share what beers they

“This prop­erty is go­ing to be­come a des­ti­na­tion. Some­thing that the town can be very proud of, some­thing that will stand out prob­a­bly in the re­gion. I don’t want to be over­dra­matic, but I feel it’s go­ing to be that kind of en­ergy.” — Nils John­son, co-owner, Lit­tle Red Barn Brew­ery

had de­vel­oped.

They be­gan to op­er­ate out of a “lit­tle red barn” in Barkham­sted in March 2013.

About a year later, they took part in a pour­ing at the Par­rot De­laney Tav­ern in New Hart­ford, and re­ceived an un­ex­pected re­sponse to their brew. Ven­dors in at­ten­dance liked the porter, which had come from hum­ble be­gin­nings — they brewed it on the kitchen stove.

Brew­ing quickly be­came some­thing they were in­vested in — when they started, they would brew the same type of beer over and over again, get­ting it just right, Matthew and Nathan Day said. They would ad­just their recipes re­peat­edly af­ter get­ting feed­back at tast­ings, John­son said.

Nathan Day is par­tic­u­larly in­vested in get­ting the beers just right. . It’s a la­bor of love, he said.

“I like cre­at­ing the recipes. I love it when peo­ple try our beers,” he said. “And I love hang­ing out with th­ese guys.”

They still don’t have the re­quired per­mits to sell beer, but have of­fered what they make at par­ties and tast­ings. In just over a year, they have built a fol­low­ing on so­cial me­dia and re­ceived a pos­i­tive re­sponse from the com­mu­nity.

Beer brings peo­ple to­gether, John­son said. It brought he and the Day brothers to­gether more closely — they went from hang­ing out ev­ery few months to do­ing so reg­u­larly — and he hopes the brew­ery can pro­vide the same op­por­tu­nity for res­i­dents of the com­mu­nity.

The Lit­tle Red Barn Brew­ery has re­served space at the Winsted Edge Works, the for­mer Lam­bert Kay prop­erty on Lake Street, along with the Mad River Mar­ket and Scene Art Bar. John­son said Town Man­ager Robert Geiger in­tro­duced them to the

prop­erty, and they be­came in­trigued by the space.

John­son said they were drawn by the po­ten­tial of the town as well, not­ing the pres­ence of Mad River Lofts. Marty Goldin, the owner of Mad River Lofts, had come in from out­side the town and be­lieved in it, and sparked fresh mo­men­tum in the com­mu­nity.

“This town, for many years, would get close but couldn’t take that next step to­wards im­prove­ment,” said John­son. “Now you see this whole en­ergy and syn­ergy com­ing to­gether, and it’s kind of cool to be part of it. We’ve got a long way to go, but this town just be­lieves, and it has the en­ergy — I get all ex­cited.”

He said that Brian Ly­man of Parker Ben­jamin had said there will am­ple park­ing space at “The Edge,” and noted the prox­im­ity of High­land Lake, which brings its own flow of

traf­fic. The town has been invit­ing, and the prop­erty of­fers a rare op­por­tu­nity, he said.

“How of­ten do you get a blank can­vas that we can sculpt with Parker Ben­jamin into some­thing that’s go­ing to fit our needs? You don’t this op­por­tu­nity that of­ten to start from here,” said John­son.

“From the river here, to what can be done with this, from the green grass go­ing down to the river, to see­ing this build­ing again from the road, the huge win­dows in this place, the ware­house look, the brick — it’s beau­ti­ful,” said Matthew Day. “It’s per­fect New Eng­land style for a brew­ery. It should be ab­so­lutely beau­ti­ful when it’s done.”

“This prop­erty is go­ing to be­come a des­ti­na­tion. Some­thing that the town can be very proud of, some­thing that will stand out prob­a­bly in the re­gion,” said John­son. “I don’t want to be over­dra­matic, but I feel it’s go­ing to be that kind of en­ergy.”

John­son said the aim

is to be re­cep­tive to the com­mu­nity and take their thoughts into ac­count. Af­ter all, res­i­dents wel­comed them warmly to town.

“They’re won­der­ful. They em­braced us. The night that they voted on the prop­erty, they didn’t come over and say con­grat­u­la­tions. They came over and hugged us and shook our hands,” said John­son, not­ing the unan­i­mous vote. “It was some type of spe­cial.”

The ten­ta­tive goal is to open in fall 2018, John­son said.

For now, they’ll pur­sue some­thing that has moved be­yond a sim­ple hobby, and be­come a sec­ond pro­fes­sion and a pas­sion.

“I wouldn’t call it a hobby any­more. I would say it’s (an) en­deavor. We’re work­ing to­wards a dream,” said John­son. “I don’t want to call it a job, but that in essence is what it is — it’s a job we don’t get paid for yet.”

“We want to do some­thing that we love to do ev­ery day. That’s what it comes down to,” said Matthew


“We now have an op­por­tu­nity to chase our dreams,” said John­son. “So why not put in the sweat eq­uity? Why not chase it? There’s no why not’s any more, it’s just why, and how can we achieve it. And that takes hard work.”

In ad­di­tion to cre­at­ing the brew­ery, the aim is to cre­ate a place for lo­cal res­i­dents to come to­gether, Matthew Day said. John­son and Matthew Day said the aim is to brew and serve beer on site, with out­door seat­ing for pa­trons.

“(We en­vi­sion) a com­mu­nity gath­er­ing place, where peo­ple want to come here and be with their friends and fam­ily, and en­joy talk­ing, en­joy­ing their days and what they want to do,” said Matthew Day. “It’s go­ing to be just a won­der­ful place to be.”

More in­for­ma­tion about the Lit­tle Red Barn is avail­able at its web­site — lrb­brew­ — and its Face­book page — www.face­­tlered­barn­brew­ers.


Matthew Day, Nils John­son and Nathan Day are band­ing to­gether to bring the Lit­tle Red Barn Brew­ery to Winsted.

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