Craft beer fans who live in Marlborough will soon have a lot to celebrate. Unfortunately, the owners of Walden Woods Brewing won’t be part of the excitement. Due to unforeseen circumstances which led to a financial hardship, the co-founders and their partners will not be able to bring their vision of a Thoreau-themed community brewery and taproom to fruition. Their finished space at 277 Main Street, however, could be a golden opportunity for a startup brewery looking to open in a city that could soon be a craft beer destination.
Located on the bottom floor of the Victoria Building in the heart of downtown, the nearly 2,400-square foot space formerly slated to be Walden Woods Brewing has been fully renovated, including installation of a 2-barrel brewing system and construction of a taproom with capacity for at least 100 thirsty guests. The property’s landlord, Charles Gadbois, says he’s eager to find a new tenant to lease his fully permitted and ready-to-operate space.
The Marlborough Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) shepherded the initial effort to bring a brewery downtown as part of the city’s continued redevelopment, and the group’s director of communications Lora Markova says they remain supportive of the idea. Whoever ends up in the space will have to go through full licensing, which includes federal, state, and city approvals, but the fact that the space has already been through the process once should help to expedite things. The likely timeline for an interested party would be a late 2018 opening.
By then, three other breweries are expected to be open in Marlborough, creating what craft beer aficionados often refer to as a destination – meaning you can spend a chunk of the day there exploring breweries, and maybe grabbing a bite to eat.
The first, Strange Brewery, will open inside the Strange Brew Home Brew shop on Route 20 and have a taproom and beer garden. Owner Brian Powers hopes to be open on weekends starting later this summer.
Another, Lost Shoe Brewing and Roasting Company, also plans to debut before the end of the summer. The husband-and-wife team of Meylnda and JP Gallagher is currently building out a brewery and coffee roastery with an onsite taproom on Weed street. A third, nano brewer Tackle Box Brewing, recently signed an agreement at an existing space where it hopes to brew and serve pints as well. Its owner has been cautious about announcing anything while he completes the planning phase and goes through licensing.
A number of other cities and towns within the Commonwealth have benefited from the fast-growing craft beer industry, including Lowell, Plymouth, Framingham, Worcester, and Northampton, all of which have three or more breweries co-existing successfully. Barring any other disappointments, It shouldn’t be long before Marlborough joins those ranks.