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Brewery Launching in Innovation District This Summer, Trillium Brewing

Brewery Launching in Innovation District This Summer, Trillium Brewing

Originally appeared here

By Kyle Aspach | 14 March 2012

One new micro-brewery is set to open in the South Boston Innovation District this summer, while a second is being eyed for South Boston in the next few years as demand continues to surge for specialty craft brews.

The first is Trillium Brewing Co., which plans to open by August at 369 Congress St., said co-owner Esther Tetreault. The business will be one of the few breweries in Boston proper, joining Sam Adams maker Boston Beer Co.    , Harpoon Brewery, Boston Beer Works and Rock Bottom Brewery.(See correction below.)

“The Seaport District used to have a lot of breweries, so that was kind of the idealistic part of the concept — bringing Boston a little bit back to its roots,” she said.

The Innovation District, in particular, was an ideal location for the business — offering “affordable light industrial space in the most up-and-coming part of the city,” Tetreault said. “We had to grab it.”

Tetreault and co-owner (and husband) JC Tetreault have had the space under lease for 14 months while they pursued a building permit, which just came through. The couple has been brewing for the past six months at Innovation District startup incubator Greentown Labs, where one of the startups, solar chiller company Promethean Power Systems, has built a component for the Trillium brewing system.

Demolition work has already taken place at the Congress Street site, and construction is expected to start on the 2,300-square foot space in the next few weeks, Tetreault said.

The plan is to start gradually with production, even though the company has gotten a lot of interest in carrying the Trillium product through events featuring the beer at Greentown and word-of-mouth, she said. Initial production will go to a handful of select bars in the Boston area, including the Publick House in Brookline, and some stores, she said.

Offerings will include four year-round brews along with seasonal beers, with a big emphasis on using hops and grains grown in Massachusetts, Tetreault said.

Tetreault and her husband both have full-time jobs and plan to hire a full-time and part-time brewer for the operation. The Brookline couple is also expecting their second child in June (their first child is a year-and-a-half old). “It’s going to be pure madness,” Tetreault said with a laugh.

Trillium, named for a hardy native New England flower, has been bootstrapped, and Tetreault plans to keep it that way. “This is our son’s legacy right here,” she said.

Meanwhile, the second brewing business looking to get going in South Boston is Critical Mass Brewing Co. Co-founder Adam Romanow said the business plans to have a Massachusetts contract brewer do the initial production of the company’s brews. The goal is to be putting beer in people’s hands by the end of summer or start of fall, Romanow said.

The brewery is formally kicking off Thursday night with a tasting event at the Boston office of education startup Boundless Learning. The sold-out event will serve as something of a beta test for the brews. “We’re hoping to get some feedback that we can take back to the lab,” said Romanow, who previously worked as an apprentice at White Birch Brewing in New Hampshire.

Critical Mass has viewed a few properties in South Boston, where Romanow lives, as possible sites for the micro-brewery. The sites are located in the area between the Andrew and Broadway MBTA stations, with the waterfront Innovation District neighborhood likely out of the company’s price range, Romanow said.

The goal is to get the brewing off the ground and get Critical Mass established as a brand, Romanow said, so the operation could qualify for the financing needed to open the brewery. The company probably will need two to three years before it’s ready to open the brewery, he said.

But that’s not for lack of help from other local brewers. Romanow, who has been home brewing for two years, said he’s gotten to know the Tetreaults and other brewers, such as the Mystic Brewery in Chelsea.

“It’s a really tight-knit community,” he said. “We’re all theoretically competing for business, but everyone has been so collegial and willing to help each other out.”

Correction: My original post failed to mention Boston Beer Works and Rock Bottom Brewery, and also missed the fact that a number of breweries have opened and closed in Boston in the past 20 years.

Later Event: April 28
A New Brew in Fort Point