WALLINGFORD — A local craft beer enthusiast plans to open up a new microbrewery down-town next year on Wallace Avenue, behind Archie Moore’s restaurant.
Peter Ford, a longtime town resident who has brewed beer at his home for about 30 years, expects to open Center Street Brewing Company in a vacant 2,500-square-foot building at 25 Wallace Ave. next fall. It will serve up to nine craft beers on tap, all brewed on site, he said.
“I make everything from IPAs to double IPAs to brown ale,” Ford said.
Ford has worked as a nurse practitioner for Hartford HealthCare for 20 years. He started thinking about opening a brewery about five years ago after he took a course in “advanced home brewing” at the American Brewers Guild in Middlebury, Vermont.
“That sort of made me realize this is something I’d like to do for a full-time job or as my retirement job,” Ford said.
Ford went back to the American Brewers Guild a few years later to receive his brewing certifi-cation. Ford estimates he has brewed 45 to 50 variations of beer over the years. He is starting the new business with his brother, Tim, who lives in Vermont and will oversee finances, and Cheshire resident Jake Degennaro, who has experience as a home brewer and will work alongside Ford as an assistant brewer.
Ford said he looked at several locations in Wallingford and other towns before signing a lease last week. The building is owned by the Caplan family and was last used as a music recording studio.
Ford believes the location, in the center of town in close proximity to several uptown restaurants, will be helped by existing foot traffic. He doesn’t plan to serve food.
“We have so many great restaurants right here, I don’t want to reinvent that wheel,” he said. “Our philosophy is not to compete with (Archie Moore’s), not to compete with customers from (Gaetano's Tavern on Main), but to partner with them. We want people to come to downtown Wallingford and we’re looking to be a part of that experience.”
Tim Ryan, the town’s economic development specialist, said he thinks the microbrewery will be a “great addition” to the uptown area.
“It’s going to bring people in, not only from town, but bring people in from out of town,” Ryan said.
Ryan said he was impressed “from the get-go” with Ford’s passion for and knowledge of brewing.
“At the end of the day you have to know your product and the market,” Ryan said. "I think he’ll be extremely successful.”
About 30 percent of the brewery’s space will be devoted to production and the rest will be available to the public, Ford said. He anticipates the brewery will seat around 45 to 50 people.
Ford said a contractor will begin work in December or January to remodel the interior and exterior of the building. He will also need to obtain several state and federal permits before opening next year.
“It’s going to be a lot of hard work, it’s going to be an uphill battle to develop a good name, to develop a good relationship in town, but we’re excited about it,” Ford said about the business venture. “I think we’re going to be really successful. I think we’re going to combine good beer with a place that people want to be.”