[Originally published at MetroWest Daily News]
By Norman Miller/Daily News staff
MetroWest Daily News
FRAMINGHAM — The warehouse at 81 Morton St. doesn’t look like much now, but it will soon house the first production brewery in the region in more than 30 years.
Jack Hendler of Natick, along with his two younger brothers, Eric and Sam Hendler, are opening Jack’s Abby Brewing in July.
It will be the first brewery in the Framingham and Natick area since the old Carling Brewery, on the shores of Lake Cochituate in Natick, closed its doors in 1975. Other brewpubs have brewed their own beers – John Harvard’s in Framingham and the now closed Owen O’Leary’s in Natick – but no breweries.
“We always wanted to work in a family business together,” said Hendler, the former brewer of the Canal Street Boston Beer Works. “Our family had an ice company (Saxony Ice Co.) in New York, and we always thought we would work there.”
After the family left the business, the idea of opening a brewery started to make sense, especially since Jack Hendler has been brewing for six years.
A 4,500-square-foot warehouse on Morton Street will hold the brewery and feature a tasting room as well as an area to buy memorabilia.
“We’re going to put a large window behind the bar so people can look in and see the brewery while they taste the beers,” Hendler said.
The warehouse is nearly empty. Hendler and his brothers, who are both in college out of state, obtained a lease six weeks ago.
Right now, they have a building permit from the town to complete the work. Drainage pipes have been installed, and they plan to add several steel tanks, a walk-in cooler and other equipment.
As far as permits needed to open, an application has been submitted to the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. Once that license is granted, the partners will then apply for a brewery license from the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission.
The state permit will allow Jack’s to provide 2-ounce samples of its beers (four types have been planned) to those older than 21. It also allows them to sell their own beers on-site. Tours will also be offered.
“We should be able to do a test batch by the middle of May,” Hendler said. “July should be realistic for us to open.”
The brewery will start with only the three brothers. Jack will be in charge of brewing, Eric will take care of social-media marketing and information technology services, and Sam will handle sales.
“I think we’ll all be doing a little of everything,” Jack Hendler said. “It’s easy to say, ‘I’ll be doing this, and he’ll be doing that,’ but you don’t work at a small brewery and not do manual labor.”
Selectman Jason Smith said he was excited to hear that a brewery was opening.
“It’s wonderful for Framingham that we have a new business coming into town,” Smith said. “I think it’s great. Any time we have an ambitious person want to open a business in town, we have to welcome him.”
Bonnie Biocchi, president and CEO of the MetroWest Chamber of Commerce, said the opening fits with the region’s other business strengths.
“We’re really trying to market our region as a mecca for restaurants and fine dining, so this fits right in,” she said. “I think it’s great to attract any industry into town, especially one that already supports the industry we have here.”
Once the brewery opens, Hendler said he and his brothers will sell only kegs at least until next spring. They plan on selling 64-ounce jugs, or growlers, of its beers at the brewery.
“It doesn’t look like much now, but it’s going to be great,” he said. “I can’t wait to get started.”