WESTFIELD, NJ — A long awaited nanobrewery in Westfield is open and seeing high demand for its product.
Corinne Grant, who along with her husband, Tim, opened Lions Roar Brewing Co. on South Avenue about a week ago, said they are pleased with how it is going.
“Outside of some expected hiccups, the transition from ‘opening a brewery’ to ‘operating a brewery’ went better than we could have expected, and it’s pretty surreal,” Grant said.
The demand for their product has been so high, she said, they had to suspend filling growlers for takeout. A nanobrewery is a smaller version of a microbrewery.
“We found out quickly that our customers were thirsty and more than ready to welcome us to town,” Grant said. “We’re a nanobrewery, so we can only pump out so much beer at a time. Until we can up our supply, we’re going to solely focus on providing our in-house customers with the freshest beer we can.”
An online seating reservation system the brewers have taken offline for an upgrade, she added, they plan to make live again at 8 p.m. Sunday night. It is something, Grant said, they decided to implement because COVID-19 restrictions prohibited use of their walk-up bar.
The brewery had been highly awaited in Westfield since the planning board in May 2019 approved the local couple’s application to build.
The plan had then been to open toward the end of 2020, but COVID-19 coupled with financial challenges put the brewery of hold. While state regulations prohibited them from crowdfunding, Grant said, they were able to raise money for the venture by selling merchandise, such as T-shirts, stickers and branded glasses.
“We decided to get creative on the funding front and host pop-up shops to sell our merchandise and memberships around Christmastime,” Grant said. “We really didn’t expect them to be as successful as they ended up being. Every penny we made from those pop-up shops truly helped us get these doors open.
Mayor Shelley Brindle this week congratulated the Grants on their opening and said that the municipality had in 2018 changed its zoning laws for the Grants to allow for microbreweries in certain districts.
“Brewery owners Tim and Corinne Grant had reached out in June 2018 expressing their desire to open a local brewery, which I knew would be a home run in our beer-thirsty town,” Brindle said.
While state regulations prohibit microbreweries from serving food, outside fare is permitted. And patrons are having it delivered to Lions Roar.
“Our hope has always been that people bring food in from mainly Westfield businesses,” Grant said. “At the end of the day, we’re residents, so if we can help local business owners in this way during these tough times, we’re happy to help.”
Email Matt Kadosh at firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter: @MattKadosh
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