05 April 2010

New Brewery in Highlandtown/Greektown--again......

I've been trying to flush some hard confirmation (read: seeing the guys and stuff for myself in person, seeing the brewing equipment, holding a test bottle, etc.) on this report/rumor for at least two weeks now, and finally did enough first-hand shoe-leather (well, sandal and car) work to confirm enough to follow up with the readers here:

Bawlmer Craft Beers LLC has set up "shop" in the former Crown Cork & Seal industrial complex (yes, the former bottle-cap factory) south of the "Greektown" block of Eastern Avenue in Highlandtown, Southeast Baltimore.  According to a report by Scott Dance in the Baltimore Business Journal, the company is the project of former water-treatment engineer and consultant John O'Melia, along with $250,000 in private investment.  Plans are for potential production of 2,500-4,000 barrels a year, beginning with three flagship beers: Amber's Ale, Hon, an amber; Formstone Ale, an American Brown Ale named after Baltimore's ubiquitous cast-concrete faux-stone rowhouse facade material, and Crabby Abbey, a dark Belgian abbey ale.  Initial plans are for only local distribution to the beer neighborhoods of Southeast and South Baltimore, with possible expansion north along the York Road corridor, according to the BBJ article.  The website reports that the company has on hand a 20-bbl. Peter Austin brewing system complete with open fermenters.

The BBJ article does delve into the background of the current craft beer environment, including comments about the recent shutdown of Clay Pipe Brewing and the expansion of Heavy Seas' market.

Baltimore beer fans with longer memories may remember that Brimstone Brewing was similarly set up in 1994 in a corner of the former National Brewing plant nearby, now part of the Brewer's Hill real-estate and commercial development.

PS: Don't go driving around the old Crown plant trying to find it yet.  You won't, and the place isn't really set up for serving or entertaining the "public" anyway.

12 comments:

Mark said...

"Hugh Sisson, a general partner with Heavy Seas Beer — which includes the locally known Clipper City varieties"

Sounds a little backwards to me...I'm not sure that this guy is qualified to report on the local beer industry!

Alexander D. Mitchell IV said...

I'm inclined to possibly blame the editors on this one. The Clipper City brand was hyped for 15 years in town and is better known (for what it's worth) than the Heavy Seas name among the potential readers of the BBJ. FWIW, the Clipper City brand no longer exists, but the physical plant in Halethorpe is still officially the Clipper City Brewing Co.

The Oriole Way said...

Interesting comments on the industry. I like the local marketing, but if you go that local to start, you'll never have a prayer at expanding beyond Baltimore. Which could be fine if you're looking to run a lifestyle business for a few years, but I don't know that his private investors will really approve.

There is already a lot of really good beer out there, and quite a bit of it brewed locally (defined as Baltimore, Frederick, Eastern Shore, southeastern PA). I wish him luck, but this is not an easy industry in which to compete.

M.J. said...

Soon I will be able to walk to get my growlers filled...Ah, the "land of pleasant living..."

Alexander D. Mitchell IV said...

Don't get ahead of yourself, M.J. There have been plenty of breweries where you could not legally fill a growler on-site. You can't fill a growler at Clipper City's tasting room, for example. Wild Goose in Cambridge couldn't even sell you a six-pack or case to go (but gave away many a short-filled bottle or two). And you legally can't fill a growler in a Maryland establishment without the proper bar/restaurant license. If this new brewery gets one, fine--but I wouldn't count on it, given its decidedly well-off-the-street location!

Mike McDonald said...

Who's Austin system did they pick up I wonder?

Alexander D. Mitchell IV said...

Haven't a clue. As if we don't have enough of those around these parts, eh?

Sean said...

Is this beer available around town yet?

Alexander D. Mitchell IV said...

I'm not even aware of a distributor yet, let alone a retail source.

Sean said...

Is there a way to get in touch with these guys to get more info ( email or whatever)? Went to their website and uhh .... that wasnt very helpful.

Alexander D. Mitchell IV said...

You can get in line behind me, mate. Been to their alleged brewery site twice, left messages in their mailboxes, you name it.

Brandon Miller - Milhouse44 said...

The better question is why they picked up an Austin System.