Connecticut Startup Hopes to Build Waterfront Brewery

MILFORD, Conn. — Today, a new craft brewery, Dockside, announced that it is seeking to add a waterfront destination to Milford’s soon-to-be-growing craft beer scene. The site where Dockside hopes to open up shop – complete with a craft brewery, 30 tap lines, a waterfront biergarten, and approximately 112 parking spots – is located just over the Washington Bridge (40-50 Bridgeport Avenue, Milford), which spans from Stratford to Milford, according to Dockside co-founders Dan Bagley and Bob Chicoine.

“Our hope is for Dockside to serve as a Gateway to Milford,” said Chicoine. “Now more than ever, the craft beer industry is thriving with a more than $700 million impact statewide. And, we believe that Milford-residents, as well as folks across the region, deserve to be able to enjoy locally brewed beer near the waterfront and to experience the neighborhood revitalization benefits of the growing craft beer industry. Our aim is for Dockside to be more than just about beer: It will be a gathering place, a source of local identity and pride, and a means for local job creation.”

Bagley, who grew up in Milford, told Hearst Newspapers that Dockside will help to achieve a long-standing goal of his to bring a biergarten and brewery to a waterfront location, reeling in people from the city, surrounding areas, and those who are recreating on the Housatonic River.

“Dockside is going to be a place where folks can come and enjoy locally brewed craft beer, hang out on the waterfront, and enjoy a little slice of Nantucket right here in Milford,” said Bagley.

The property where Dockside will be located is currently occupied by a home (50 Bridgeport Ave.) and Village Marina (40 Bridgeport Ave.). Plans for the property include demolishing the existing home – which will pave the way for 112 parking spots – and renovating the 4,000 square foot building that currently houses Village Marina to then serve as the new craft brewery. In addition, near the waterfront, two docks will be renovated to hold boat slips and inland will be home to a top-notch biergarten. To maximize the waterfront views, there will be a wide array of waterside seating and deck space for craft brewery goers.

Bagley has owned the future Dockside location for eight years and was waiting for an opportunity that was the best fit for the community, and that’s when he met Chicoine. Since 2016, Bagley and Chicoine had been discussing the possibility of putting together a waterfront craft brewery and biergarten at the Milford location. And, after two years of planning and making sure the project was just right for the property, Chicoine and Bagley decided to move forward this spring.

“Milford has the most shoreline of any coastal town in Connecticut,” said Chicoine. “We look forward to offering residents and visitors an opportunity to drink locally brewed craft beer by the water, help to add value to the city’s thriving economy, create jobs, and build an establishment that fits well within the fabric of the community while bringing in a new and exciting venue.”

Chicoine is also a partner at Engine15 Brewing Co., an award-winning craft brewery in Jacksonville, Florida. The craft brewery has been so successful that it’s highlighted by the City of Jacksonville’s tourism site, “Jax Ale Trail.”

In addition to Dockside, two other craft breweries are coming to Milford in the near future. Bagley and Chicoine noted how well the craft beer community works together, and that they look forward to having a symbiotic relationship with one another.

“We’re thrilled to be a part of the growing craft beer community in Milford, and look forward to working closely with folks from neighboring craft breweries, and with other businesses in the city and across the state,” said Bagley.

The next step for Dockside is to receive approval of its plans from Milford’s land-use boards.

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