Record Number of Massachusetts Brewery Openings On Tap For 2020
It’s now been eight consecutive years of double-digit brewery openings in Massachusetts, and 2020 shows no signs of slowing down. We now know of at least 49 new breweries setting their sights on opening this year. Of that total, 24 will be brand new while 25 are either existing breweries adding second locations or contract brands building their own brick and mortar breweries. Additionally, three others are adding taprooms, three more are expanding or renovating, and another three are upgrading or replacing their current breweries. A lot of industry insiders have speculated that we’re already at saturation, and we’ve got our own opinion on that, but either way a tsunami of new brewery openings is coming.
Admittedly 49 new breweries seems like an awful lot. And to be fair, not all of them are likely make it to fruition. Last year we reported that 49 new breweries intended to open, but for various reasons the year-end number (29) fell significantly shy of that projection. Many from last year’s list are back, though, and aiming for an early 2020 debut. For an idea of all that lies ahead, check out our list below.
NOW OPEN: After a few unforeseen construction delays, the new Sam Adams pilot brewery and taproom in Faneuil Hall opened its expansive three-level space to the public late last week.
NOW OPEN: After brewing test batches for several months, Kismet Brewing in Westfield opened their micro brewery and retail space for takeaway can purchases just this past Saturday.
NOW OPEN: Farm brewery Bramling Cross Brewing also launched over the weekend. The Lunenburg nano brewery is a production-only space and will be available through a monthly purchase program and at a few nearby retail and dining establishments.
NOW OPEN: Also debuting this past weekend was Franklin Brewing Company / 67 Degress Brewing, a minority-owned and dog-friendly micro brewery and taproom located on Grove Street across from the Industrial District in Franklin.
Lord Hobo Brewing has some pretty colossal plans for the new year, starting with the well publicized construction of what Daniel Lanigan has referred to as the Taj Mahal of breweries in Boston’s Seaport District, but some cool additions are in store for their home base in Woburn as well. Work to double the seating capacity of the “Humble Castle” has already begun, and includes glass overhead doors that connect to a large new outdoor patio.
Milk Room Brewing, a small farm-to-glass brewery in Rutland, plans to open this coming weekend. Pre-purchased growler fills will be available, as well as on-site flight samples, but only for those who’ve ordered ahead. The working farm describes itself as having a “family atmosphere with other things to offer than just beer,” including animals, pasture raised meat at its farm store and a disc golf course.
Also close to opening is Cape Ann Lanes in Gloucester, where the longtime bowling alley says it’s ready to debut a new brewpub this month. No word yet on whether it will get its own unique name.
Ludlow’s Vanished Valley Brewing is likely to open its new taproom and kitchen early this month as well, in the renovated space that was formerly Europa Restaurant. The new gastropub will feature a custom built brick oven and feature artisan style food options.
Out in Worthington, Sena Farm Brewery plans to open its taproom this winter. The buildout is complete, so it’s just a matter of getting through the final inspections.
Newburyport Brewing is hoping to open two new breweries in 2020, the first debuting in Boston’s High Street Place as early as later this month. Described as an “experimental test kitchen for delicious beer,” it will focus on the brand’s 1635 Series of limited-release beers and some creative collaborations with some of the food hall’s other vendors. Their other project, a new brewery and taproom to replace the original location, is still awaiting approval to start construction. Their current Newburyport taproom will remain open during the build out of the new location.
Not to be outdone, Wachusett Brewing will also debut two new satellite breweries early this year, one in the forthcoming Worcester Public Market (grand opening this Thursday) and the other in the former John Harvard’s space in Harvard Square (opening TBA). Both will have their own pilot system and taproom, with the Cambridge location including a dedicated sour beer program. We’ve got a special collaboration beer in the works with them, so stay tuned for details on its release later this month.
Beverly’s Backbeat Brewing has its first few batches in the tanks, and estimates that a grand opening for its micro brewery and taproom should happen this month.
Also aiming for that time frame is existing contract brand Bay State Brewing Company. It will continue brewing its flagship beers at Brewmaster’s Brewing Services and use the new 10-barrel microbrewery and taproom located inside Worcester’s Fidelity Bank Ice Center to expand on its current repertoire.
No specific date has been announced, but Second Wind Brewing in Plymouth will be debuting a second downtown location, this one a nano brewery, taproom, and kitchen, on Main Street. According to a recent Facebook post, they’re “close to finalizing the permitting.”
No definitive word on when it plans to open yet, but fully licensed Atlantic Brewers & Distillers in Athol has hinted that it might be ready to debut its microbrewery and taproom soon.
Faces Brewing says their space is coming together and estimates that March is likely for their opening. Located in downtown Malden, the brewpub recently did a collaboration with Icarus Brewing out of New Jersey.
Another microbrewery and taproom that could open early this year is Aquatic Brewing in Falmouth. Its extended delay was due to construction permitting difficulties, but it’s fully licensed and working toward an opening in the not too distant future.
Another licensed entity that could debut in the first third of the year is Oakholm Brewing in Brookfield. Located on a historic 116 acre farm, the 10-barrel brewery, taproom and event space says they’re “fairly confident in an April opening.”
Also touting its license, but not quite open for beer yet, is Church Street Brewing in Canton. If all goes well, they could be serving both their cold brew nitro coffee and their small-batch beer out of their pending taproom in the first quarter of the year.
Another nano operation that should be producing beer before spring ends is Rockport Brewing Company, which hopes to have its small batch offerings on shelves in Rockport, Gloucester, and Essex as early as March. Plans for a visitable brewery and taproom are also in the works for 2021.
Great Awakening Brewing Company is full speed ahead building out its spacious microbrewery and taproom in Westfield’s Mill at Crane Pond, a historic paper mill that overlooks the Little River. Their intention is to open this spring, offering a wide variety of styles from IPAs to Sours to Barrel-aged beers and to have a regular rotation of food trucks and pop-up vendors.
Barrel House Z recently shared with us their plans to open a second location northwest of Boston in late spring or early summer. More details about the pending microbrewery and taproom will be announced as things progress in the coming weeks.
Existing contract brand White Lion recently received the construction permit for its 11,000 square foot space at 1500 Main Street in downtown Springfield. Ownership has an aggressive construction schedule and hopes to have the microbrewery and taproom open for business by May.
Another existing contract brand, Medford Brewing, may also be close to announcing formal plans for its microbrewery and taproom. No timeline has been established yet, but thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign it’s looking like the city of Medford will get its own home town brewery sometime in 2020.
Fresh off a successful crowdfunding campaign, Anawan Brewing is on target for an early summer opening of its microbrewery and taproom in Rehoboth. While construction is underway they’ve got a few collaborations lined up with some existing breweries.
Bourne’s Oak Bay Brewing is also aiming for an early summer opening. It recently started construction of its microbrewery and taproom space in Buzzards Bay.
Aspiring nano brewer Gilded Skull Brewing & Blending is currently in the licensing phase and hoping to contract brew out of Granite Coast Brewing in Peabody. The intent is to produce mixed culture and keg conditioned beer for small-batch bottling offerings and to distribute to a limited number of bars in and around Boston.
One of the more anticipated additions planned for the Metro Boston area this year is the new Notch microbrewery, taproom, and biergarten that will anchor the soon-to-be rehabilitated Charles River Speedway Headquarters site in Brighton. The plans aim for a late summer opening.
If all goes well, Deep Cuts Deli and Brewery will be open in the Winter Hill neighborhood of Somerville this summer. They’ve already started demo on their pending microbrewery, taproom and kitchen and will continue to do food pop-ups in Metro Boston during the build out.
North Reading may get its first brewery this summer. Hopothecary Ales plans to open a 10-barrel microbrewery, taproom and kitchen at an undisclosed location. They hope to offer more details in early March.
Also hoping to be its community’s first brewery is Lucky Goat Brewing, which plans to debut a nano brewery and taproom in Wareham later this year. With demolition completed and its brewing system in possession, the opening date will depend on the pace of licensing and construction.
Quincy looks poised to get its own brewery in 2020 as well. Having completed a successful crowdfunding campaign, Break Rock Brewing‘s founders told us they are “very confident that they will be opening in 2020 and will have news to share later this month.”
Brockton Beer Company may be closing in on a space to open its downtown brewpub and is hoping to be open by year’s end. While they work through the process you can sample their collaboration brews with Article Fifteen Brewing in Weymouth.
Next door in Easton, Shovel Town Brewery is putting the final touches on its new 15-barrel production brew house in Easton while it waits to clear one more hurdle before starting the build out of a new microbrewery and taproom in Foxboro. The hope is to be up and running there in late 2020.
Stoneman Brewery recently announced plans to open a microbrewery and taproom at the Warfield House in Charlemont this year, but no time table has yet been set. Plans include a beer garden on the Deerfield River and possibly an in-house kitchen.
No time frame has been shared, but existing contract brand Arcpoint Brewing still plans to open a microbrewery and taproom in Belchertown and hopes to break ground on the project this spring.
Same scenario with Medusa Brewing in Hudson, where plans are ongoing for a new production facility, taproom, and beer garden located just a short distance for its existing space downtown.
Other holdovers who announced their plans in 2019 (which may or may not be happening) include a taproom and barrel-aging facility for Henry & Fran in West Boylston, the conversion from restaurant to brewpub at 1620 Brewhouse in Provincetown, and the addition of Bruno’s Brewery to the existing Boston Winery facility in Dorchester. Details on all three projects have been scant.
Similarly, its’s been almost a year since the first announcement from Rising Glass Brewing that it intends to open a microbrewery, taproom, and kitchen in North Adams. We’ve been monitoring their website and social media but there haven’t been any updates in six months.
Word leaked last month that Norwood’s Castle Island Brewing is planning a brewery & taproom closer to its namesake in South Boston, but no details have been released as to whether it would be a second location or a relocation of their whole beer business.
Not so secret are the intentions of another high profile brewery planning to open a second location in Metro Boston, Lamplighter Brewing, which recently announced plans for a new distillery and nano brewery inside The Shed at the new Cambridge Crossing development.
Several contract brands are also weighing their options regarding a taproom in 2020, including Portico (looking in Cambridge/Somerville), Small Change (Somerville or somewhere nearby), Anonymous Brewing (in Rowley or elsewhere on the North Shore), Off The Cuff Brewing (Central Mass.), and Entitled Beer, who has been searching on the South Shore for some time.
On the expansion front, Seven Saws Brewing in Holden has plans to increase production (including more canning), increase the size of its taproom, and create a larger outdoor space in 2020. Stay tuned to its Facebook page for more details to come. Beverly’s Channel Marker Brewing is also eyeing an expansion before year’s end, increased production being the main goal. They’d love to have more taproom capacity as well, but haven’t made any decisions on that just yet.
Having recently received final approval from the planning board, As Built Brewing plans to start construction this winter on their downtown microbrewery and taproom in Franklin. The taproom isn’t expected to open until later this year, but the brewers hope to be producing beer for distribution retail sales as early as spring.
Pending contract brand Drawing Board Brewing is hoping to get its beer to market by summer. It recently received a federal license and the hope is to start brewing at Loophole Brewing Services when it opens later this year.
Speaking of Loophole Brewing Services, they recently launched as a contract brand themselves, but hope to have news on their brick and mortar brewery and taproom in Western Mass. soon. When open, they will also serve as an incubator for a variety of aspiring home brewers, as well as nano and micro breweries looking to grow.
We’re also tracking a number of home brewers that have expressed varying levels of interest in going commercial, though we haven’t included them in our tally of 49. Among them are Stockade Brewing in Southwick, Pine Road Brewing in Millbury, Black Rock Brewing in Hull, and Time & Materials Brewing, who plans to partner with some industry pros on a few collabs while they finalize their own business plans.
A few other notes: no final decision has been made, but Spencer Trappist Brewery continues to debate plans for a taproom on the grounds of its abbey in Spencer. After more than two years, Iron Duke’s planned move from its current Ludlow location to a new home in Wilbraham is slated to happen in 2020. And Greater Good Imperial Brewing’s Soul Purpose brand, which recently became its own entity, will pursue a nano brewery and taproom at Union Station in Worcester in early 2021.
Finally, one mysterious license we noticed a few months ago on the ABCC listings is that of Fetch Brew Co., which is in some way affiliated with 44 Plaza Ave. in Belchertown. We reached out to founders Stacy and Bryan about their commercial plans, but haven’t heard back yet. Maybe we’ll try their canine counterparts, Jade and Bear.
We’ve heard a few other rumors swirling out there as well, but aren’t at liberty to share them just yet – stay tuned for more developments. If you know of anyone we’ve missed, hit us up in the comments section below.
*The featured image for this blog post is courtesy of Austin Design and White Lion Brewing