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Down the Road Owner Passes Away, Leaves Popular Brewery in the Lurch

The Everett License Commission met on Monday night, Sept. 16, for a lively agenda that included sorting out the details after the unfortunate and untimely passing of Down the Road Brewery Founder Donovan Bailey.

Bailey, 46, passed away on July 31 of a heart attack very suddenly, leaving everyone at the popular and growing brewery on Bow Street in shock. Since early August, the brewery and tap room have been closed down, and the remaining owners are trying to figure out what to do.

Chair Phil Antonelli said the brewery is trying to straighten out its financial situation, and is trying to find other brewers to come in and help them out. Bailey was their founder and brewmaster, and with him suddenly gone, the company is having trouble producing new product. In particular, they have reached out to Lord Hobo and Night Shift, but have nothing in place as of yet.

The brewery had invested about one year ago in a substantial expansion of their production capacity and their beer has become widely distributed in stores and even at the Encore casino craft beer pub.

The company is believed to be carrying a substantial amount of debt from their expansion.

There was no clear path to re-opening for the brewery during the meeting, and the Board agreed to hold their license until they can get things ironed out.

Bailey hailed from Newton, and had moved to Malden in the last few years to be closer to the brewery.

He told the Independent in 2016 when he had first come to Everett that he considered himself “lucky” to have found a space in an area that was up-and-coming in the world of brewing and distilling. Over the last three years, the brewery had certainly come into its own with a new tap room, wide distribution and a major expansion in production ability.

•In an unusual move for Everett, the Everett Package Store in Glendale Square is looking to go out of business, and they are hoping to sell their liquor license to Regina Food Store on Main Street. Regina would then, in turn, sell their beer and wine license to Sammy’s Variety on Main Street.

Such things are rather common in Boston, but in Everett, selling licenses hasn’t been standard operating procedure.

The City and the Board are looking at it carefully, but there has been some skepticism about starting the practice. That said, no decisions have yet been made and the  matter will be before the Board at a future meeting.

•Winners Bar & Grill had their license taken away completely in May after many incidents that built up over time. Chair Antonelli said they have now allowed Winners to re-open, but they must close at 11 p.m. Their hours have been drastically reduced.

Seth Daniel: