MILFORD, Conn. — Dockside, a new 4,200-square-foot, 30 tap craft brewery and waterfront biergarten project on the Housatonic River, took a major step this week in receiving unanimous approval from Milford’s Planning and Zoning Board.
Leading up to this week’s Planning and Zoning Board meeting, which included a public hearing and vote, more than 1,500 people signed a petition in support of the project. And, a video in support of the project was created and distributed via social media channels aimed at increasing awareness of the project and to encourage public support.
In response to the vote, Dockside co-owners Dan Bagley and Bob Chicoine — who is a partner in Jacksonville, Florida based craft brewery, Engine 15 — said they’re thrilled about the result.
“Giving the green light to Dockside is great news for Milford, Connecticut and the future of its Devon-neighborhood,” said Chicoine and Bagley. “We want to thank members of Milford’s Planning and Zoning Board, Mayor Blake, and the more than 1,500 residents and others who supported our project by signing our petition.
“We truly believe that Dockside will serve as the gateway to Milford It’ll be like a little slice of Nantucket right here in this great city. Here’s the bottom line: Dockside will create jobs, revitalize a currently underused property, and provide folks in the neighborhood and across the city even more access to the waterfront. It’s a perfect trifecta for Milford.”
Milford’s eleven-member Planning and Zoning Board voted unanimously in favor of the first-of-its-kind project after several Milford residents, during the public hearing portion of the meeting, spoke in favor of its job-creating, neighborhood revitalizing benefits for the community.
Those who spoke in favor of the project included city economic development director Julie Nash reading a letter of support from EDC chairman Michael Lynch, and State Representative Kim Rose.
City Economic Development Director Julie Nash read a letter of support from EDC chairman Michael Lynch, who wrote that the economic impact of craft breweries is “staggering,” and noted the importance of job creation. State Rep. Kim Rose, D-Milford, whose district includes Devon — and who was long involved in the Devon revitalization effort — also wrote in favor.
Getting the green light from Milford’s Planning and Zoning Board represents the last agency or board approval that is necessary for Dockside to start construction. The final hurdle permit-wise is securing a building permit from the city.
Once construction is complete, Dockside will need to receive a Certificate of Occupancy from the city.
Chicoine and Bagley hope to open Dockside in 2019.
Once open, Dockside will brew award-winning Engine 15 branded craft ales under the Jacksonville, Florida based company’s license on site in Milford, Connecticut.
Luch Scremin, the head brewmaster at Engine 15, when asked about coming into the Connecticut craft beer market, recently told the Jacksonville Business Journal that ‘the beer laws in Connecticut are “pretty friendly, which is another plus for us.’”
Connecticut is currently experiencing an economic boon from the craft beer industry and its showing few signs of slowing down. In fact, over the past decade, Connecticut has experienced an over 500 percent increase in the number of craft breweries, with nearly 70 up-and-running statewide today.
In addition, the economic impact of Connecticut’s craft beer industry is more than $700 million, almost double what it was five years ago. And, in 2010, Connecticut had fewer than 10 craft breweries.
Now, Connecticut boasts nearly 70 operational breweries, with dozens more in the planning stages.
Craft brewery growth isn’t just happening in Connecticut. Nationally, over the past decade, the number of brewery establishments nationwide expanded by a factor of six, and the number of brewery workers grew by 120 percent.
Dockside is seeking to add a waterfront destination to Milford, Connecticut’s growing craft beer scene. The site where Dockside plans 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, which connects Milford to Stratford. For more info, please visit the Dockside website at www.dockside15.com.