Brewery Progress Snagged

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Photo by Lester Smith

This view of the interior of the Broad Brook Brewery being built on South Street shows the mezzanine level at the left, which will allow visitors to look down onto the fermenting tanks. The tap room will be at the far end of the building, while the floor in the foreground will provide storage for sacks of grain. The photo was taken through the north doorway, which was incompletely closed by temporary structure while the building awaits the settlement of issues raised by the Suffield Building Inspector.

The caption of a photo in last month’s Observer reported that completion of the new Broad Brook Brewery (BBB) being constructed on South Street had been delayed. It turns out that the delay was prompted by a stop work order issued on March 28 by Suffield Building Inspector Ted Flanders. The underlying matters are complicated.

Excavation for the 12,000-square-foot building on a small parcel in Mach One Industrial Park began in August or early September, and the foundation footings were poured later in September. A ceremonial “groundbreaking” was held on September 28, with Suffield officials and company officers happily celebrating the new business coming to town. The precut steel structure went up the week before Christmas, and soon the building was closed in.

But it was discovered that there were problems in a number of details involving the steel structure itself and its interface with the concrete foundation. The following summary comes principally from the March 28 stop work order and its referenced engineering reports.

Problematic details were enumerated in an eight-page report on January 17 to BBB partner Eric Mance by Terracon Consultants, of Rocky Hill, who listed 12 specific issues including bolted connections, columns out of plumb (verticality), and problems with how some joists rested on the foundation walls. BBB then engaged Amara Associates of Middlebury, whose February and early March reports defined proposed corrections.

Building Inspector Flanders asked two additional consultants to review the original construction drawings and Terrracon’s on-site observations. On March 14, one reported more questions from a cursory review and recommended a more thorough review of the structure. The other, on the same date, reported similar and additional concerns, including questions about how loads from the surrounding earth would be resisted by the foundation walls.

In response, on March 28 Building Inspector Flanders ordered the work stopped, and work did stop. This reporter’s inquiries to Town Planner Bill Hawkins and Inspector Flanders were met with a reference to Town Attorney Derek Donnelly, who stated that the Town was working cooperatively with the proprietor to resolve the problems as expeditiously as possible. He added that there is no litigation in progress.

In the meantime, BBB moved out of their previous, leased quarters in Warehouse Point at the end of December. One unconfirmed report says that production of BBB’s popular varieties has continued at the Stony Creek Brewery in Branford presumably to the same recipes.

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