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Belmar Council Approves Measure Allowing New Brewery

There will be beer.

The Borough Council on Wednesday unanimously approved a change to its zoning ordinance allowing a brewery to move into the Freedman’s Bakery building at 8th and Main Streets.

A public hearing and final vote on an ordinance to add “brewery’’ to the list of permitted businesses in the central business district took place following a public hearing where two people spoke but no one objected.

Members of the East Coast Beer Company -- makers of Beach Haus beer -- addressed the Borough Council during a recent 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 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.

Tex December 12, 2013 at 10:24 AM
Good luck East Coast Beer. It's good to see the entrepreneurial spirit is still alive.
Dan Brateris December 17, 2013 at 01:20 PM
Stupid Idea! If its not going to be a Brew Pub, then why should it be on Main Street?!?! I love the idea of having a brewery in Belmar, but if its not going to be a "destination" that brings people into to to stay there to do things, then it shouldn't be on Main Street. A brewery is an industrial operation, a brew pub belongs on Main Street!
Dame Bridgid December 20, 2013 at 10:24 AM
Goodbye to both traffic safety or quiet, day or night, throughout the year for the neighborhood. This is also a beer BOTTLING PLANT. I hope the town council enjoys constantly spending Belmar money rebuilding the roads on Main Street & 7th Street. Doling out Belmar resident's money to pay for this businesses' endless heavy truck traffic Get ready for the cost of enlarging the police department too. They will be handling the day tripping motorists who will be allowed to purchase six packs to drink after their "beer sampling tour"ends. The town will also have higher costs in public works... For the cleanup around Lake Silver, on Ocean Avenue, plus up & down Main Street to avert lawsuits if people cut themselves on beer bottles walking barefoot or in flip flops This is nothing but a hole in all Belmar resident's pockets steadily trickling their money down the drain while the bennie business profits.

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