By Seth Daniel
When Donovan Bailey lost his job a few years ago, he would have never believed that he would end up brewing beer in the industrialized Lower Broadway neighborhood of Everett – and being very excited and happy about that outcome.
However, that’s just where he’s at with his Down the Road Brewery on Bowe Street and he’s excited to be part of Everett’s brewery revolution and ready to expand.
“I was into home brewing for about 20 years before I started this,” Bailey, a Newton resident, said. “I got laid off from my other job in 2012 and was at a crossroads to decide what to do. I decided that I might as well get into brewing. I started brewing some of my own and I got into the contract brewing business. It started with about 2,000 sq. ft. here in Everett in May and by November we had leased the whole 12,000 sq. ft. building. We contract brew for Ipswich and some beers in western Massachusetts…We have a brewery with a taproom that we’re working on. We have the funding for our equipment now, but we’re looking for a little more investment for the build out.”
Down the Road joins a bustling area of breweries and distilleries in the Village and Lower Broadway area. Spurned on by large, well-built industrial spaces that are in transition, brewers and distillers seem to have settled on Everett as the place to lay down roots. Those businesses include Night Shift, Short Path Distillery and the soon to come Bone Up Brewery.
Speaking at the Beer Summit last week in Boston’s Back Bay – a make or break type of trade show for craft brewers – Bailey said people want good beer, and that is fueling the burst of breweries in Everett and around the state.
“People are thirsting for good beer,” he said. “People want to try new stuff and they don’t want to spend their hard-earned money on junk…Massachusetts is still underrepresented in the industry. We have 60 breweries in the state, and 100 if you count the contract brewers, and we’re not even close to being in the top 20 for the country. We have plenty of growth potential.”
Bailey said he mostly makes his mark by brewing for other companies, which is known as contract brewing and is a good way to pay the bills when getting started in the industry.
That said, Down the Road also has its own long catalog of brews. Bailey said he brews and cans his own IPA, a Pale Ale, his 7-star IPA, a Nut Brown Ale and his own Stout.
Bailey said they found their space in Everett by necessity, but they really believe they’re in on the ground floor of something big.
“We were looking for a big space and found this space on Bowe Street really by chance,” Bailey said. “This Lower Broadway area is something we believe is going to have a ton of potential. There will be the casino and it’s close to Boston. We really lucked into it. It was totally luck. The thing I’m excited about is the condo buildup nearby. There are a lot of units at the Batch Yard and about 400 or 500 more coming nearby. That’s just great news for us because it means more people in the area who will potentially come by the brewery to try our beer.”
He said he is also very excited to be part of Everett’s growing industry.
“I think we all just add to one another,” he said. “We’re doing something different than Night Shift and Bone Up. Really, people are coming for the beer when they visit, and if they’ve come for one, they will likely end up going to all of them. And really, Mystic Brewery is right around the corner in Chelsea so that adds to it as well. We’re excited to see what happens. We really think Everett is a town whose time had finally come.”