Tapping Into History

One of the coolest things I’ve experienced during our planning and construction of this brewery has been the integration of brewery design and local history.  On the inside, our brewery has been deliberately designed in a way that incorporates many modern-day brewing enhancements and efficiencies, allowing us to make the very best beer possible. Working as a brewer for two years in Seattle opened my eyes to so many things that I never would have considered had I made the jump directly from homebrewing to my own commercial brewery. From seemingly simple concepts such as process flow to more complicated procedures such as lab testing, so many important details would have been far beyond my experience level and likely would have been left out of our business plan. Sure, we would have eventually figured it all out, but we would have paid a high price in both operating costs and, more importantly, beer quality. Now, I feel like we are excessively prepared and so much more knowledgeable, which will ultimately benefit all of you when you taste that first pint of ridiculously amazing beer.

The other half of our planning has been interweaving the history and story of this old town into the vision for our brewery.  If you’ve never been to Scituate, the town has such natural beauty that I have no doubt you’ll love it as much as I do.  Since the 1600s, Scituate has been a relatively uncomplicated town highlighted by a rich history, proud heritage, and beautiful beach-covered coastline. When we found our location in the Greenbush area of Scituate, we had a unique opportunity to incorporate a piece of the town’s history into our brewery.

Near our brewery location is an old, gray, rundown building that is completely unassuming in its look. This building has no visible windows and, from what I’ve learned, has been used as storage for years. However, what many don’t know is this building is actually an old schoolhouse - the South Main Street School - dating back to 1852. Our landlord, a 5th generation town resident, originally showed the building to us and explained how his ancestors attended class in that very building. At that point our imaginations took off and what started as a brief history lesson soon turned into a restoration project. Now the old South Main Street School is in the process of receiving a makeover as it gets transformed into an important part of the brewery: our taproom.

 The schoolhouse as it stood back in 1970...

The schoolhouse as it stood back in 1970...

 ...And the schoolhouse in its current condition, being prepared for its move and eventual transformation into our taproom.

...And the schoolhouse in its current condition, being prepared for its move and eventual transformation into our taproom.

 The South Main Street School pictured on the left in its old location in Greenbush (Fitts Mill on the right). Date unknown.

The South Main Street School pictured on the left in its old location in Greenbush (Fitts Mill on the right). Date unknown.

 Photo of the South Main Street School likely taken from the top floor of Fitts Mill, facing south. Date unknown.

Photo of the South Main Street School likely taken from the top floor of Fitts Mill, facing south. Date unknown.

As I write this, the schoolhouse is being prepared for its move over to the brewery property about 100 yards away. (I’ve never seen a building get moved, but it should be fun to watch. In this case, it will be the 4th time this schoolhouse has been moved within Scituate.) Once moved, our talented and fearless landlord will begin his restoration of the building, turning it into a place where our future customers will be able to sit in the same space where one of their early relatives possibly attended primary school.

Why are we so excited about restoring an old building to make it a part of the brewery?  First, it directly ties into a key part of our mission, which is to promote sustainability and preservation. In a time when natural resources are too frequently destroyed to make room for new buildings designed to go up as quickly and cheaply as possible, we are honored and proud that we are able to preserve a local cultural resource and actively use a piece of town history. Second, this building will be a special place for our customers. Instead of sitting in another new building with no character or personality, they will get to experience a space and environment in which earlier generations learned and grew as a community. This schoolhouse could have easily remained where it was, collecting more dust and going unnoticed by everyone who drove by it. But instead it gets a new life and a new purpose. We are going to give it lots of TLC over the next few months, but throughout its restoration we will be looking forward to the day when we open its doors and make it a part of our story.

(Historical photos courtesy of Chick Fagan)