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Belmar Inches Closer To Gaining Brewery

East Coast Beer Company is eyeing Freedman's bakery in Belmar for micro-brewery.

The Borough Council on Wednesday took the first step toward welcoming a new micro-brewery into town, unanimously introducing an ordinance seeks to  change the definition of what type of commerce is allowed in the downtown business district.

The ordinance, which was introduced without comment from the governing body, will be placed on the council’s calendar for a public hearing at the discretion of the Borough Clerk. No date was immediately set Wednesday.

The measure would add ‘’brewery’’ to the list of permitted businesses in the central business district. Currently, a brewery is not allowed.

But at a council workshop meeting last month, members of the East Coast Beer Company -- makers of Beach Haus beer -- addressed the Borough Council during its workshop session to explain their intention to convert the Main Street bakery into a microbrewery, complete with a storefront to sell small amounts of their line of four Jersey Shore-themed beers.

The company, founded in 2007, started selling beer in 2010 only in Monmouth and Ocean counties. It now distributes beer throughout the state and five other Eastern states: North and South Carolina, Conneticuit, Pennsylvania and New York, company officials have said.

East Coast Beer does not currently have its own brewing operation. It owns the recipes for its beers and rents space in established breweries to make its beers. The purchase of the Freedman’s site will give the company a permanent home. The company is currently under contract to purchase the site.

The new brewery would not be a new bar, however. It will mainly be a wholesale operation brewing beer for distribution. Tours can be arranged with a small tasting at the conclusion of the tour, company officials have said.

And although there will be a small storefront where customers could buy a small amounts of beer to go, it is not a place to walk in, sit down and drink beer.

“It’s not going to be a brew pub,’’ said John Merklin, one of the company’s founders.

The brewery is buying the whole building, including the storefront of the barber shop and the antique store. Upon closing of the deal, the company plans to incorporate both of those storefronts into the brewery plans.

The company intends to begin renovating the bakery immediately upon closing the deal.

“We’re going to be a destination for people,’’ Merklin said. “It’s going to be an attraction.’’

Dame Bridgid November 09, 2013 at 08:45 PM
If they have to change the business ordinances, then it simply does not belong at that location. The truck & nuisance traffic alone will cause pedestrian hazards so close to 2 schools. Booze tours & kids are not a particularly intelligent combination. Especially since a child was struck by a vehicle at that corner quite recently.
Dame Bridgid November 09, 2013 at 09:11 PM
Ask residents who live near alcohol soaked venues what problems it has brought to their towns regarding safety & higher crime. This could potentially draw in unruly crowds like the ones who brawl, drive drunk, & urinate on resident's lawns in other towns. It will also mean other businesses will have legal precedent to lift the limits on operation hours & noise too. This can of worms should remain unopened.
Chris Constantino December 18, 2013 at 09:06 PM
Alcohol soaked? Peeing on lawns? It's tours and samples...not shots and dancing on the bars... I wonder if the school across the street from Carton has problems? Doubt it.. Plus, its way better the a vacant, formerly rodent infested bakery. Funny thing is small, locally owned businesses like this give back way more to the community than most of the gadflies behind a screen name on the Patch. Cheers....

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