MORRISTOWN, NJ - Four friends, one a life long resident of Morristown, came in front of the Morristown Zoning Board on Wednesday night for a Use Variance for the brewery they hope to open at 95 Morris Street. Over 30 supporters came to the hearing which included testimony from owners Alaine Anderson and Steven McConnell as well as Attorney Doug Henshaw.
Anderson, who is operational manager for the proposed brewery and McConnell, the brewer and quality control manager for the brewery spoke at length at the meeting. Anderson, McConnell, with co-founders Anthony Necco and Scott Anderson in attendance, explained how they hope to turn the former automotive space into a 4,500 square foot brewery featuring a tasting bar with direct taps, tasting areas with indoor and outdoor seating, and a production area with large stainless steel tanks.
Henshaw testified that the area the brewery will occupy is currently in the back of T-Mobile, with the entry door for the brewery set back from the street. The brewery, Wild Bones Brewing Co. will have seating capacity for 75 patrons inside and 30 outside. The proposed occupancy is less than code, which is the intent so as to not over populate the brewery, they testified.
Anderson explained that there are currently only two other production breweries in Morris County; one of which is Twin Elephants in Chatham.
"Production breweries fall under a limited brewing license which is a state issued license", said Anderson. "It allows onsite consumption of beer produced on premise in conjunction with a tour. The license does not permit the brewery to sell food or operate as a restaurant. It allows us to offer goods to go and to self distribute".
Tours will be offered and the space can be rented out for larger parties, said Anderson. Anderson testified that the tasting room hours would be Wednesday through Friday from 4pm - 10pm, Saturday from 12noon - 10pm and Sunday from 12noon - 6pm. The proposal also included production hours which would begin around 8am Monday and Tuesday and then as needed during the rest of the week.
Questions were raised by the zoning board regarding the impact within the neighborhood as well as signage, lighting, deliveries, garbage, parking, noise and production hours.
"This is not a bar atmosphere, it is a family friendly, casual, laid back atmosphere", said Anderson. "It creates a general gathering place, featuring a local product. It creates "beer tourism".
No decision was made on Wednesday night. The next discussion regarding this variance request will take play on May 17, 2017.