Nearly two years after publicly declaring an interest in opening a farmhouse brewery in Connecticut, popular Massachusetts craft beer maker Trillium Brewing Company has purchased a farm in North Stonington, about two hours outside of Boston.
In a blog post, JC and Esther Tetreault, the husband-and-wife team that co-founded Trillium in 2013, said they bought the farm in order to fulfill their dream of opening a farm brewery near where they were married in the pastoral region of Connecticut.
JC Tetreault shared tentative plans for an estate brewery on East Clarks Falls Road with North Stonington city officials during a public meeting in November 2016, according to a Boston Magazine story.
Speaking to Brewbound, Esther Tetreault said the couple had purchased the same farm.
“When JC and I started Trillium, we wanted it to be a farmhouse brewery,” she said. “What does that mean when you’re in the middle of Boston? Well, this helps us take this next step. We always planned for the long run of what we wanted to build Trillium to be, and this is just a big milestone step to get us there. But it really connects the dots of not just making beer but making beer that is established in a place and rooted in region and focuses on ingredients as much we can do ourselves.”
Tetreault declined to share specific financial terms of the project.
Last year, Trillium grew production 22 percent, to 18,000 barrels, according to data from the Brewers Association. Ninety-five percent of Trillium’s beer is sold directly to consumers.
Despite finding the North Stonington property three years ago, Tetreault said it took until 2018 to make the acquisition a reality.
“We’ve looked at several locations over a few years, but this property is the one that we found about three years ago, and it ended up being the one,” she said.
The plan is to make Trillium Farm & Brewery into a destination brewery that produces “estate-grown beers” on a small brewing system, Tetreault said. Some of those beers could be in the same vein as the Fated Farmer series of barrel-aged wild ales made with farmhouse ingredients.
The company also plans to launch an agricultural program to feed their production facilities as well as a forthcoming Fort Point restaurant, taproom and pilot brewery, which is slated to open later this year.
Trillium also plans to hire a full staff to run the farm, and JC and Esther intend on commuting to the brewery “on occasion,” Mrs. Tetreault said.
“We definitely intend to spend time there,” she said. “And this gets JC back into the earth. But producing beer is what we do and we’re about to open this big restaurant. These are experiences that we want to create. The farm is in a community that’s close to our hearts, but New England is small enough that we can stay well-connected. It’s literally an hour and 15-minute drive from Canton. It gives us the opportunity to move back and forth and gives us a wide range of experiences that we’ve tried to create.”
Creating the farm brewery could take years, as the company works through zoning and planning processes. Tetreault said the company will take its time designing the farm brewery and will better understand their needs once its Fort Point restaurant opens.
“It will definitely be years in the making,” she said.
With the announcement of the Connecticut project, Trillium will now shift its focus back to opening its 15,000 sq. ft. brewery and full-scale restaurant in Fort Point later this fall. That space has been in the works since late December 2016.
Once operational, the farm brewery will be Trillium’s fourth location open to the public. Trillium currently operates a production brewery and taproom in Canton, a retail storefront and small brewery in Boston’s Fort Point neighborhood and a well-trafficked seasonal beer garden in the middle of a 17-acre park between Boston’s South Station and the North End.
“We’re excited about the ability we finally have to connect all of our experiences in time,” the Tetreaults wrote. “Think fresh produce from the farm for dinner on the roof deck in Fort Point while drinking Congress Street IPA packaged that morning in Canton.”
In other Trillium news, the brewery is collaborating with America’s Test Kitchen to brew Illustrated IPA in honor of Cook’s Illustrated’s 25th anniversary. The 7 percent ABV New England IPA featuring valley malt and Washington state-grown hops will be released on September 14 as part of Cook’s Illustrated’s 25th Birthday Bash.
Tetreault said she and JC are long-time fans of Boston-based America’s Test Kitchen and its Cook’s Illustrated magazine and they “jumped” at the opportunity to make a beer for the anniversary.
“We appreciate that approach that they take to cooking and science and food, very similar to how we feel about our beer,” she said.