E-Malt. E-Malt.com News article: USA, CT: Winsted’s Little Red Barn Brewers soft opening exceeds expectations

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E-Malt.com News article: USA, CT: Winsted’s Little Red Barn Brewers soft opening exceeds expectations
Brewery news

One of the newest businesses in Winsted, Little Red Barn Brewers, say their soft opening last week exceeded expectations, the Danbury News Times reported on July 2.

Nils Johnson, a co-owner of Lake Street brewery with Matthew and Nathan Day, all Barkhamsted natives, called the first week in business “phenomenal.”

“We didn’t just meet our expectations, we just blew past them,” he said. “We’re very encouraged. We had a tremendous turnout, and got a lot of positive feedback. I don’t know who was more excited about it, us or the people who showed up.”

A grand opening is scheduled for July 14, but Johnson said the brewery now is on a full schedule and will be open from 3-9 p.m. Wednesdays; noon to 10 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays; and noon to 8 p.m. Sundays.

Last week, the brewery added food trucks, so people could enjoy a snack or meal with their beer.

“We’ll continue that,” Johnson said. “Our goal is to have it least one, if not two, food trucks a week. It’s tough to get them, because a lot of breweries are taking on the same concept.

“But we were lucky,” he said. “We got startup trucks and they wanted to come, and they were great. We had Taco Shack, and their food was phenomenal, and then we offer live acoustic music, but not full bands, Johnson said. “We want to complement, not overwhelm,” he said.

Reaction to the brewery was positive.

“What we heard from a lot of people was, ‘It’s comfortable,’ or ‘It’s warm and inviting and comfortable.’ That’s exactly what we were going for,” Johnson said.

Johnson and the Day brothers have known each other since middle school. About eight years ago, the Days received a beer-making kit as a gift. “The first beer was horrible, but the process was fun, and it morphed into a club,” Johnson said. “We all chipped in and brewed, and cooked, and it was a lot of fun.”

Then, a friend with years of beer-brewing expertise taught the trio the proper techniques and “we went to another level,” Johnson said.

Next, the young men built a brewhouse and continued to make beer. About 31/2 years ago, they decided to develop a business plan. “We started going to beer festivals, and we were building up our recipes, and it took on a life of itself,” Johnson said. “We started looking for a location, and Winsted showed the most interest.”

The partners like Winsted, they said, because they’re first in line. “In other towns, we might have been ninth,” Johnson said. “In Winsted, we’re making an impression as the first brewery. That’s how we ended up here.”

The brewery is in the old Lambert Kay building, which sat empty for years after the company that manufactured dog leashes and other items closed. “They closed in the early 1990s and it’s been vacant until now,” Johnson said.

He had high praise for Winsted’s town manager, Robert Geiger.

“This project would not have happened without Bob Geiger,” he said. “He’s been a friend, he’s been a mentor.”

The brewery is located at 32 Lake St, Winsted.

07 July, 2019

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