Brewery owner takes construction-related delays in stride
By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News
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Owner Tom Curry, however, is taking the delays caused by the closure of the sidewalk on the south side of Railroad Avenue in stride.
“I'm not upset with this at all,” Curry said in a phone interview last week.
“We're going to make it work.”
Crews with Primo Construction started tearing up the sidewalk outside of Curry's brewery and taproom at 124 W. Railroad Ave. on Feb. 18 as part of the city's ongoing esplanade project.
The $3.9 million endeavor will add a concrete promenade extending over the water along Railroad Avenue, improve the road surface and widen sidewalks on the south side.
Glenn Cutler, the city's public works director, said the new sidewalk will be between 6 and 13 feet wide, depending on the placement of decorative trees.
Cutler said he expects the sidewalk will be completely closed until the end of March, with the entire esplanade project expected to wrap up in mid-to-late summer.
The city also has installed a small, temporary path leading from Barhop Brewery's front door to the blacktop parking lot directly east of the business so customers can access it via the alleyway between North Oak Street and North Laurel Street, Cutler said.
The sidewalk widening, however, requires the removal of the existing walkway, which has caused Curry to put deliveries of beer-making ingredients, additional brewing tanks and other equipment on hold.
The only way Curry can receive deliveries is through the front door of his business via a wide driveway apron, which abuts the south side of West Railroad Avenue.
Curry has ordered custom-built brewing equipment that will allow him to grow the beer production and wholesale side of his business but has delayed delivery until his storefront is more accessible.
“I'm not even thinking about expanding the wholesale business until this whole [construction project] is done,” said Curry, adding that about 80 percent of the hardware he's ordered is ready to be shipped.
“We're doing about one-third the productivity we will be doing once the equipment arrives.”
Despite the delays, Curry said the construction crews have helped Curry handle the deliveries he hasn't put on hold, which included a 1,400-pound order of grain that crews helped lift over the construction fence about a month ago.
“If I absolutely said I need to have [the brewing equipment] delivered next week, they would open the street up,” Curry said.
Curry said city staff also has been responsive to his concerns, citing a meeting he had with city planners last week that resulted in the new sidewalk design retaining the large driveway apron Curry relies on for deliveries.
“There have been points of concern, but [city staff] have been very reasonable to work with,” Curry said.
Nathan West, the city's community and economic development director, said the new sidewalk design retains all the other driveway aprons that were part of the old sidewalk along the south side of Railroad Avenue.
Though Curry has not been churning out as much beer as he would like, he offered nothing but praise for the devoted bands of customers who have continued to drop by the Barhop Brewery throughout construction.
“The retail side of the business is going well,” Curry said.
“Our customers have been extremely loyal.”
Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at email@example.com.
Last modified: February 25. 2013 6:14PM