BBC in talks to add taproom

  • Berkshire Brewing Company’s Owner Gary Bogoff tastes a brew at the business’ South Deerfield brewery. Bogoff intends to convert its tasting room into a full-blown taproom. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

  • Gary Bogoff, owner of Berkshire Brewing Co., intends to convert its tasting room into a full-blown taproom. RECORDER STAFF/ANDY CASTILLO

  • Berkshire Brewing Company’s Owner Gary Bogoff intends to convert its tasting room into a full-blown taproom. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

  • A view inside Berkshire Brewing Company in South Deerfield, where Owner Gary Bogoff intends to create a taproom. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

  • Inside Berkshire Brewing Company in South Deerfield, where Owner Gary Bogoff intends to create a taproom. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

  • Berkshire Brewing Company's canning line. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

  • Gary Bogoff, owner of Berkshire Brewing Company, works on the canning line. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

Recorder Staff
Published: 3/16/2018 11:03:24 PM

SOUTH DEERFIELD — Triggered by a change in state permitting, Berkshire Brewing Company — the county’s oldest brewery — wants to open an 850-square-foot taproom.

“This will be the main entrance. There will be signage. We’re going to clean this up, and put a couple of high top tables in the front hallway,” said Owner Gary Bogoff, leading the way past a row of stainless steel fermenting tanks, and into the brewery’s tasting room, where only free samples are currently poured. A crisp scent of fermenting beer filled the room.

Assuming all goes as planned, Bogoff said the taproom will probably be open a few days each week, accessible from the brewery’s parking lot off Railroad Street. Tables will be set up along a wide hallway immediately inside the door, wrapping around a corner and into a small room outfitted with a bar and serving area.

“People will be able to bring their own food,” Bogoff said, noting plans to increase the number of taps at the bar from 12 to 20, and to offer pretzels from Baked, a coffee shop and bakery in Shelburne Falls. During weekends on the summer, Bogoff said he’d like to have food trucks outside.

“They’ll be able to mill about where we are now. We’re thinking about having a standing bar here,” he said, motioning to open floor space in front of the tanks. The taproom, which will have accessible bathrooms and be able to host about 55 people, will open sometime after BBC receives a pouring license from the state.

Town officials approved Bogoff’s local pouring permit application last week, paving the way for BBC to apply for a state license, which can take between four and eight weeks. Bogoff said he’s hopeful the permit will be approved sooner rather than later because of BBC’s longevity.

The brewery was established in 1994, as the craft brew movement began to sweep the nation. Bogoff’s original concept envisioned a restaurant, but that aspect of the business never came to fruition, although the brewery business itself took off. When the business started it was small enough to fall under Massachusetts’ Farmer Brewery license, which allows both poured and bottled beer to be sold on-site. But over time, BBC expanded into a Pub-Brewer wholesale license, which back then didn’t allow any on-site sales.

Thus, BBC has distributed free samples only during brewery tours ever since. However, all of that changed last year when the state Legislature amended the law, allowing wholesale breweries including BBC to sell poured beer (but not packaged beer), Bogoff said.

“People from Deerfield have encouraged us to do this for years. We’ve received a lot of support and encouragement to try to do something like this,” he continued. “For years, people have joked about bringing their wives to Yankee Candle and coming over here for a beer. Hopefully, we can fulfill that experience for the husbands.”

Not only will a taproom be a benefit to local beer connoisseurs, it will allow BBC brewers the freedom to experiment with different styles in small batches.

“We’re really excited do some experimental stuff — kicking out the stops. It will definitely be affordable. We feel that beer should be an affordable luxury,” Bogoff said. “We’re going to try to have a new line of something new all the time.”

The proposed taproom comes at a time when BBC is simultaneously expanding its reach across New England and possibly into New York. Last April, BBC installed a high-tech canning line capable of canning 350 beers a minute. In that time, the machine has filled and sealed 2,000,000 cans.

Looking ahead, if the taproom endeavor is successful, Bogoff hinted at future expansion.

“If it really goes well, we’ll make a dedicated and larger area, a relaxing pub venue,” Bogoff said. “There’s a possibility of moving the offices upstairs and making that into a sit-down area instead of the industrial experience.”

You can reach Andy Castillo at: acastillo@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, ext. 263. On Twitter: @AndyCCastillo




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