BEER WILL BE HERE
Little Red Barn Brewery to move into Edge Works building
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
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 — lrbbrewers.com — and its Facebook page — www.facebook.com/Littleredbarnbrewers.
Matthew Day, Nils Johnson and Nathan Day are banding together to bring the Little Red Barn Brewery to Winsted.