Tree House Brewing presents multi-phase moving plan for South Deerfield site

  • A COVID-19 vaccination site has been run out of the future Tree House Brewing site in the former Channing Bete Co. building on Routes 5 and 10 in South Deerfield. A representative of the brewing company appeared before the Deerfield Selectboard on Tuesday to give an update on its progress moving into the building. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • The Charlton-based Tree House Brewing plans to open a new location at the site of the former Channing Bete Co. on Routes 5 and 10 in South Deerfield. Staff File Photo/Zack DeLuca

Staff Writer
Published: 4/14/2021 3:12:35 PM

DEERFIELD — A representative of Tree House Brewing appeared before the Selectboard on Tuesday to give an update on the company’s progress on moving into the former Channing Bete Co. on Routes 5 and 10.

Don Dubendorf, an attorney speaking on behalf of Tree House Brewing, said the company will open in three phases — the first of which will include the installation of a brewery, and the sale of products on site. A timeline for the phases was not presented, and plans are contingent upon Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals approval.

“We have two pieces of use, one in the most northerly building and another in the most southerly building,” Dubendorf explained. “In the most southerly building, we’ll be installing a small brewery function; in the most northerly building will be warehouse coolers and a capacity to serve customers to come and pick up the product.”

Dubendorf said all sales will be done on the website.

“(Customers) come in, they check in with traffic attendants, they pick up their order that’s already been made through the website and then they move off,” he said. “We have a number of ways to manage traffic both on site and off site.

Dubendorf added that traffic analysis was presented to the Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals.

The Charlton-based brewery, which announced in November its intention to open another location in South Deerfield this year, expects to appear before the Planning Board later this month for a site plan review and to ask for two technical waivers — one of which waives a tree count, while the other asks to increase the scale of the blueprints for presentation purposes.

The company also expects to appear before the Zoning Board of Appeals for three “characteristics of relief.” One of which, Dubendorf said, is to request a special permit for use that includes manufacturing, to warehouse, restaurant and office functions.

“We’ve planned a buildout over three phases, but we want to be permitted as to those uses in all three phases,” he said, noting the business would return to the Planning Board at the initiation of each phase.

Tree House Brewing will also be looking for relief on sign limitations, Dubendorf said.

Commenting on the matter of traffic, Selectboard Chair Carolyn Shores Ness noted the number of people who have been on site lately for the COVID-19 vaccination clinic.

“We’ve had over 750 people in and out of that location without any problem whatsoever,” she said, adding that Channing Bete, at its height, had about 300 employees on site.

Deerfield resident and clinic volunteer Lili Dwight added that she was surprised by the size of the space.

“We had absolutely no problems with traffic at all,” she said. “Thank you and welcome, and I can’t wait to see that place revitalized and be such an important part of our community again.”

Other residents commented on the positive experience the town has had so far working with the company.

“You’ve already made yourselves wonderful neighbors and members of the community,” said resident Debbie Shriver. “And we’re thrilled you’re here.”

Kimberly Golinski, office manager and bookkeeper for Tree House Brewing, said the company is “super excited” to be in Western Massachusetts.

“We’ve met some of our neighbors,” she said. “We’re just happy to be there.”

Mary Byrne can be reached at or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne

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