A very well-known Somerville brewery brand is expanding its operations to Everett – officially taking over the former Down the Road Brewery on Bow Street and brewing their first batch of beer this past week on site.
Aeronaut Brewery of Somerville’s Union Square began to take over the large brewery complex last February when they signed a lease on the Down the Road space. They were slowed by COVID-19, but began picking up the pieces last month on the expansion. Down the Road was a strong brewery brand and contract brewer in Everett for several years, but abruptly closed when founder Donovan Bailey died of a heart attack late last year.
Though a sad story, Aeronaut’s Lee Hatfield said they are ready to keep the beer flowing and pick up where Down the Road left off.
Aeronaut is an established brand in Somerville, having been started by three friends in 2014 and quickly outgrowing the Letter Factory location they started in some years ago. Co-Founder Dan Rassie and Ronn Friedlander – who met while attending MIT several years ago and started home brewing in their backyard soon after – jumped at the chance to expand to Everett.
For the brewery, the focus right now is increasing their volume and pushing it out further into the wholesale distribution market.
“It will help us to get into the wholesale market more,” said Hatfield. “That’s the big push in craft beer now with COVID-19 restrictions in place. It’s important to produce more beer, can it and get it out the door. So, the main purpose is the brewery operations. We will use the tap room, but we see it as something we’ll focus on later. We were running out of space a long time ago in Somerville and this will give us 3.5 times the production capacity and up our output a ton.”
Right now, Aeronaut makes 4,000 barrels per year in Somerville. Their capacity in Somerville is 8.5 barrels per batch. The Everett location has a capacity of 30 barrels per batch.
“That’s a big jump for us,” she said.
The increased production at the two brewery facilities will allow them to further saturate the local market with wholesale distribution, but also push out to the New England region.
“It worked out because it was a great location and an existing brewery,” she said. “We didn’t have to start from scratch. We could just start up.”
Aeronaut is very happy to now be a part of the Everett brewery scene in the Village and Lower Broadway areas – known by producers as The Fermentation District. They said they are excited to get to know the other producers, the community in Everett and participate in all of the events that take place.
“We love Somerville and Somerville is core to our brand,” she said. “This is going to be an exciting next step to bring that sense of community to a new place with and existing community.”
Aeronaut Brewery is on the agenda for the License Commission for its Aug. 17 meeting to discuss a new Farmer’s Pouring License – which permits them to use the tap room. Hatfield said they are interested in opening up the patio later this summer for service.