Brewery gets OK for retail selling
Blueprint Brews owners get permission in industrial zone
TOWAMENCIN » A planned brewery in Towamencin has now cleared one last hurdle, and hope to be open within weeks.
Blueprint Brewing Company, a trio of local brewers operating in an industrial space on Gehman Road, received their conditional use approval Wednesday night, the last major obstacle before opening their doors to the public.
“We’re looking to open next weekend, at this point, in the 640 square feet that we’ve been granted,” said co-owner Jason Scholl.
Scholl and co-owners Cory McDonald and
Kyle Fetch, along with attorney Kim Freimuth, made their final arguments to Towamencin’s supervisors Wednesday night, seeking conditional use approval to allow retail sales at a brewery within the township’s limited industrial district. Plans for the brewery were first announced and discussed back in April, and over the summer the group has worked through several steps of the approval process, including a zoning change to allow the sales of dozens of their specialty brews and blends, including gluten-free beers.
“A craft beer bar is a bit different than some of the local establishments we’re used to in our hometowns, where it’s large amounts of cheap beer, until late in the night, with maybe a little more rowdy crowd than we’ll have,” Scholl said.
“There’s a lot better beer these days than those. It’s everywhere, and craft beer is different types of better tasting beer, better quality, better ingredients, and just a better atmosphere to drink it in,” he said.
The brewery already occupies two adjacent 3,200-square-foot spaces at the end of an industrial park on Gehman Road, and of that total roughly 640 square feet near the front entrance of the right-side unit would be used as retail space for sales of beer brewed and stored on the rest of the site.
Scholl and Freimuth detailed how the latest version of their plans meet the township’s codes and conditions: the retail space only occupies 10 percent of the total area, would be physically separate from the manufacturing area, would have a separate entrance marked with the company’s logo, and retail customers would have no access to the brewing area. Occupancy would not exceed 50 people, and fire alarms, sprinkler systems, and security cameras have already been upgraded.
The proposed retail hours of operation would be from 3 to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, Fridays from 3 or 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturdays from noon to 11 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 6 p.m., times that Scholl said are meant to be almost exactly opposite the offices that make up most of their neighbors.
“From speaking to folks on site, they typically end up leaving around 4 p.m., maybe 5 p.m., so right as we’re turning the lights on, they’re turning their lights off,” he said.
Only prepackaged food like pretzels would be sold inside, and food trucks would be invited to the site to sell in the parking lot; Fetch said the group already has “about ten on the list right now,” with offerings depending on when trucks are available. The plans call for a dedicated 16 parking spaces specifically for Blueprint, plus a separate parking area for food trucks, and access to the rest of the parking for neighboring businesses if needed, all of which Scholl said met the township’s criteria of a use compatible with the area.
“It’s the opposite hours, it’s the copious amounts of parking spaces, it’s the quietness and the ability to not bother many folks back here, and a good use for a warehouse space that may otherwise be vacant,” Scholl said.
The board voted unanimously to grant the conditional use approval, and supervisor Laura Smith said “Cheers!” after the votes were cast. Following the approval, McDonald joked the doors would open “in about 15 minutes” for the trio to celebrate, and they said the retail area would likely open to the public on or around Oct. 21.
“We’d open tomorrow, if we could make that happen. Realistically, let’s give it a week and a few more days,” Fetch said.
For more information on Blueprint Brewing Company, visit www. BlueprintBrewCo.com, search for “Blueprint Brewing Company” on Facebook or follow @ Blueprint_Brews on Twitter.
Jason Scholl, co-owner of the proposed Blueprint Brewing Company brewery in Towamencin, and attorney Kim Freimuth show the brewery’s location inside an industrial area on Gehman Road in Towamencin.