A new start up brewery is taking shape in Kensington, last week winning neighborhood approval to sell growlers to go, merchandise, and pub grub from its future home at 5th & Cecil B. Moore.
Tim Patton, owner and sole proprietor of St. Benjamin Brewing Company, has been searching for more than two years for a place to turn his home brewing hobby into a full fledged business. The 14K square foot industrial building at 1710 N. 5th St. turned out to be the perfect fit, and Patton picked up the building for $395K in February.
As it turns out, the building was home to the Theo Finkenauer Lager Brewery a hundred years ago. It also happens to be just a couple of blocks away from the abandoned and possibly endangered Gretz Brewery building on Germantown Avenue.
Last week South Kensington Community Partners unanimously approved Patton’s proposed variances. Another neighborhood group, Old Kensington Neighbors Association, will weigh in August 14, and after that Patton will go before the ZBA. As it stands the building is already zoned for brewery use, but Patton needs variances to sell anything to the general public, free samples included.
There’s also the matter of federal and state brewing permits and building permit approval, but Patton is planning to open his nanobrewery by the end of the year.
Recent interior shot
Patton said he will only be using a portion of the building to start, but hopes to grow into it over time.
“I’ll be doing less than a 1,000 barrels a year to start and after three to four years upgrade to a much larger system,” Patton said.
You can follow the progress of St. Benjamin over on the brewery’s official blog.
Photo credits: St. Benjamin blog & Facebook page