MERIDEN — Local home brewer Gary Krock hopes to turn his hobby into a small business by applying for a zoning variance that would allow him to add a small brewing facility to his home.
“It’s my passion and I just love people’s reaction when I say I’m from Meriden,” Krock said. “I love giving them the best beer possible.”
Krock began brewing ‘Lost Tourist,” about three years ago and has showcased it at local events, including the Powder Ridge Festival. Krock’s German-inspired beers use hops grown in Meriden and includes IPAs and pale ales.
Krock traces brewing in his family back to his great grandfather, Albert, who came to the United States from Germany.
“He was the first home brewer in the family,” Krock said. “I want to honor him with the tradition of brewing beer.”
Krock has submitted an application to the Zoning Board of Appeals to add a small brewing facility to his home, located on Ridgewood Road, a residential area between Wall Street and Washington Park. Associate City Planner Paul Dickson said this is the first time he has seen an application of this kind for home brewing, but said similar applications have been granted for home catering businesses.
“He’s looking to do something really small scale and test the waters to see if there’s any demand,” Dickson said. “As long as it’s kept at the small scale that he’s proposing...I don’t have any overarching concerns.”
Dickson will be recommending to the ZBA that Krock not add any signs advertising the business to his property and not make any sales to the public from his home.
Krock, who currently brews in five gallon batches, said he would be looking to sell small kegs to local bars and restaurants. The variance would allow him to convert a porch attached to his home into a roughly 150-square foot enclosed facility for brewing.
“There is going to be no foot traffic whatsoever. I’m not open to the public or anything like that,” Krock said. “It’s just a facility to brew the beer legally to get the permits.”
If successful, Krock hopes to one day expand into another building away from his home.
“Once I get consumer demand for the beer I would eventually seek a facility, hopefully in the Meriden area, where I could have a tap room and be open to the public and just distribute to the local market but have a place where people can come and enjoy the beer,” Krock said.
The Zoning Board of Appeals is slated to review the plan on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in City Hall Room 131.
Krock has a website at losttouristbrewing.com.