Yet Another Brewery-Run Beer Garden is ‘Popping Up’ in Boston

Downtown Boston is getting another summer beer garden, thanks to Mayor Martin Walsh and the City of Boston, Wachusett Brewing Company, and Delaware North, a hospitality company owned by Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs.

Dubbed “Boston Seasons” and located at City Hall Plaza, the new pop-up beer garden, ice cream shop and mini-golf course will open May 4 and operate seven days a week throughout the summer.

“We’re excited to welcome the next round of family-friendly and fun activations to City Hall Plaza as the weather continues to get warmer here in Boston,” Mayor Walsh said via a press release. “Our partners at Boston Garden Development Corporation have shown the potential in making the plaza a downtown destination for all with a record number of visitors at Boston Winter this year, and I look forward to another season of success.”

It’s the third time Wachusett has partnered with Boston Garden Development Corporation, the Delaware North subsidiary overseeing the project, to pour beer in front of City Hall.

Last fall, the Westminster, Massachusetts-based brewery brought its “Brew Yard” concept to the area for a total of 16 hours. Earlier this year, it expanded the partnership and operated an indoor beer garden that was open six days a week during January and February.

“We are really grateful for the opportunity that the City of Boston and the Boston Garden Development Corporation have provided us,” Wachusett president Christian McMahan told Brewbound. “We are looking forward to giving craft beer fans some interesting experiences throughout the summer.”

According to McMahan, Wachusett products will be repurchased from Craft Brewers Guild, its local distributor. The brewery will process transactions and share revenues with the City of Boston and Delaware North. Additionally, the company plans to hire “about a dozen” employees to staff the beer garden, which will operate 40 hours per week.

Wachusett also plans to invite other breweries to pour their beer on “collaboration nights” to stay “fun and fresh” and introduce consumers to other craft brands.

“We are hoping that we are growing the overall traffic downtown and driving interest in craft beer,” McMahan said.

When asked if he was concerned about local bar owners pushing back on the increasing number of beer gardens slated to open this summer – Norwood-based Castle Island plans to open a 5,000 sq. ft. beer garden on May 11, and Salem’s Notch Brewing will operate a traveling biergarten series in Greater Boston between May and November – McMahan said he viewed the concept as a marketing opportunity.

“We didn’t invent this model, we are just another player in it,” he said. “Since we opened our Brew Yard at our own brewery, our business has grown significantly in all of the towns and accounts that are closest to us. We are still on a journey of getting people to know us as a brand.”

In addition to an indoor winter beer garden that was open for four months, Canton’s Trillium Brewing Company, in partnership with The Greenway Conservancy, operated a downtown summer beer garden in 2017 that routinely drew long lines to enter. The company is expected to reopen the space this year, according to the Boston Globe.

In response, some Boston-area retailers have begun voicing concerns – publicly and privately — about the increasing number of taprooms, beer gardens, and other satellite retail establishments owned or operated by breweries that they feel are impacting their ability to attract and retain customers.

Jamie Walsh, an owner of Vanderbilt Kitchen & Bar and the general manager of Stoddard’s Fine Food & Ale, wrote a series of Twitter posts questioning the fairness of the city allowing Trillium to obtain 30-day special event licenses in order to operate its pop-up winter beer garden in the Roslindale neighborhood.

In his tweets, Walsh argued that the city was allowing Trillium to operate a bar that skirted licensing requirements such as having a full-service kitchen.

“As a Boston bar owner & operator I have to secure licenses, I have to have a kitchen,” he wrote. “I can’t just get a 30-day special event license & let a food truck pull up. Or have someone sell sandwiches inside.”

For his part, McMahan said he’s been “following the story very closely,” but contends that other areas of the country have more developed craft beer scenes and already host similar beer garden concepts.

“Boston has, traditionally, not had many outdoor entertaining options,” he said. “But city officials are starting to see the value in it and, at the end of the day, they have to give residents of the city a great experience. This is a real proactive and forward-thinking way to make Boston a better place to live, and we are supportive of it.”

A press release with additional details is included below.

Boston Seasons Presented By Berkshire Bank Announces ‘The Patios’ Coming to City Hall Plaza

Boston, MA (April 19, 2018) – Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the City of Boston, along with Boston Garden Development Corp. announced on Thursday that the newest installment of ‘Boston Seasons presented by Berkshire Bank’ at City Hall Plaza will debut on May 4, 2018.

Through a collaboration with Boston artist Jeff Smith, ‘The Patios’ presented by Berkshire Bank will reimagine the southeast corner of City Hall Plaza and feature design elements grounded in reclaimed wood, private patio appeal and the infusion of greenery. The Patios is open to the public, will serve as a local gathering spot with nine custom patio areas, a main pavilion structure, and will house Wachusett Brew Yard, Honeycomb Creamery, and mini-golf stations. Weekly ‘pop-ups’ at The Patios will include visits from puppies in partnership with Schultz’s Guest House, the Boston Public Library’s Bibliocycle and picnic promotions from Boston Public Market.

“We’re excited to welcome the next round of family-friendly and fun activations to City Hall Plaza as the weather continues to get warmer here in Boston,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “Our partners at Boston Garden Development Corporation have shown the potential in making the plaza a downtown destination for all with a record number of visitors at Boston Winter this year, and I look forward to another season of success.”

Jeff Smith is a sculptor and filmmaker who built the ‘Smallest House in the World’ and is now on a mission to popularize the perfect shape. Smith was commissioned to collaborate on a vision and provide design elements to The Patios, including an art installation entryway and patio design made of local, reclaimed wood which will display a refreshed BOSTON sign. Circle B Barn Company, based out of Lexington, constructed the main building that will provide visitors a spot to gather at The Patios, rain or shine.

“We couldn’t be more excited to launch this unique and reimagined area, ‘The Patios’, through our continued partnership with the City of Boston and Boston Garden Development Corp,” said Michael Daly, CEO for Berkshire Bank. “Having recently relocated our corporate headquarters to Boston and the completion of the acquisition of Commerce Bank, we can’t wait to join in on the fun at The Patios, located at the heart of this great City and now our official headquarters for both work and play.”

Wachusett Brewing Company is proud to return to the plaza with its iconic Airstream trailer to offer pints on The Patios, beginning every weekday at 4pm and 11am on weekends. Wachusett will rotate a wide selection of its own beer on tap and will also feature several guest brewery tap takeovers to expand the wide variety. In concert with the City of Boston’s food truck program, The Patios will serve as a daily destination for picnics on The Patios and Honeycomb Creamery based out of Cambridge, MA will operate a pop-up ice cream shop at the entryway.

“We are excited about our latest effort to transform City Hall Plaza and debut ‘The Patios presented by Berkshire Bank’, open and available to all this spring and summer,” said Amy Latimer, president of Boston Garden Development Corp. “Like the rest of Boston, we are ready for spring – and what better way to celebrate than with outdoor patios, pints and puppies.”

In addition to daily programming, weekly pop-ups will appear at The Patios throughout the summer months, such as ‘Wag Wednesdays’ in partnership with Schultz’s Guest House, a dog rescue based out of Dedham, MA. Visitors can meet and play with puppies every Wednesday from 12-2pm and be connected with more information on rescuing animals. Five mini-golf holes will be free for public use, the Boston Public Library’s Bibliocyle will visit weekly with books from a variety of genres, offer library card sign-ups and present storytime sessions, and Boston Public Market will provide picnic menus, samples and giveaways. Additional activities will be added throughout the season.

‘The Patios’ presented by Berkshire Bank will officially open on May 4. Located in the center of the City and just steps from the MBTA’s Orange and Green lines, The Patios will serve as an urban oasis for residents, commuters, and visitors offering daily programming for everyone from picnics, pints, putt-putt and more.

For more information, including the schedule of events, please visit: www.CityHallPlazaBoston.com.

‘Boston Seasons presented by Berkshire Bank’ is part of a three-year plan created by Boston Garden Development Corp. and the City of Boston Property Management Department to revitalize the existing plaza at City Hall and create a vibrant welcome public space for all.

About Berkshire Bank

Berkshire Bank, America’s Most Exciting Bank®, is recognized for its entrepreneurial approach, relationship customer experience and distinctive culture. With $11.6 billion in assets, Berkshire provides business and consumer banking, mortgage, wealth management, investment and insurance services through 114 full service branch offices throughout New York, Connecticut, Vermont, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts, including Commerce Bank, a division of Berkshire Bank. Berkshire Hills Bancorp (NYSE: BHLB) is the parent of Berkshire Bank. Berkshire Bank was named one of Massachusetts’ Most Charitable Companies by the Boston Business Journal in 2017. To learn more, visit www.berkshirebank.com, call 800-773-5601 or follow us on: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Berkshire Bank is the official bank of NESN’s Boston Bruins coverage, the Pan-Mass Challenge and the community partner of Boston Seasons at City Hall Plaza.

Boston Garden Development Corp (BGDC)

Boston Garden Development Corp, a subsidiary of Delaware North, is overseeing the efforts as the City’s selected vendor to enhance City Hall Plaza. Delaware North is one of the largest privately-held hospitality and food service companies in the world. Founded in 1915 and owned by the Jacobs family for 100 years, Delaware North has global operations at high-profile places such as sports and entertainment venues, national and state parks, destination resorts and restaurants, airports, and regional casinos. Learn more about Delaware North at www.delawarenorth.com.

Jeff Smith

Jeff Smith is a sculptor and filmmaker who built the ‘Smallest House’ in the World and is now on a mission to popularize the octahedron, the perfect shape. He has created sculpture using salvaged material for 30 years, way before it was cool. Smith lives in Boston with his wife and two children.

Wachusett Brewing Company

The company produces a diverse, award-winning line of beers ranging from their best-selling Blueberry Ale to their highly-rated New England Style IPA Wally. WBC is the second largest packaging brewer in Massachusetts and was named among the top 50 largest craft breweries in the US in 2017.

Honeycomb Creamery

Honeycomb Creamery was started in 2015 by husband and wife, Rory Hanlon and Kristen Rummel. Their shop is based in Cambridge, MA, where they create small batch ice cream and cones from scratch. Honeycomb Creamery creates unique flavors inspired by their own imaginations and made with only locally sourced, in-season ingredients.

Shultz’s Guest House

Shultz’s Guest House is a 501c3 dog rescue shelter, located on 200 private acres in Dedham, MA. Its mission is to provide rescue for lost, homeless and abandoned dogs in the southern part of the country, where both veterinary care remains commonly unaffordable and animal protection laws remain dormant; to provide for the medical care, sheltering, and transport of such dogs to our Dedham, MA facility, where we can further manage their healthcare, provide socialization, introduce human trust, and promote spaying/neutering as a means to end the suffering of pet overpopulation and unwanted dogs; and to focus on adoption of healthy puppies and dogs into loving, forever homes.

Brewbound Job Board

The leading job board for the beer industry. Featuring hundreds of jobs from leading breweries and associated companies.

Brewbound Podcast

The Brewbound Podcast features interviews with beer industry executives and entrepreneurs, along with highlights and commentary from the weekly news. New episodes every Thursday.