By: Michael McCord, NHBR
The ongoing revival at Smuttynose Brewery in Hampton took a fun turn in July when the company held an in-house brewing competition among 10 teams and hosted a recent visit by Gov. Chris Sununu. Smuttynose has moved forward from a financial bottom that forced an auction sale of the company earlier this year, first to Provident Bank and then to Runnymede Investments, a local private equity firm. It’s also a sign that the brewery — named after the third-largest island in the Isles of Shoals and founded in 1994 — was going back to its innovative roots.
“Being the head of a craft brewery like Smuttynose really does ruin you for other career paths,” quipped Richard Lindsay, the new CEO, about the combination of fun, 100-hour weeks and sharing beer with his neighbors. “I had the luxury of inheriting a really experienced team. The top four to five brewers have more than 100 years of experience.”
According to Craft BrewingBusiness.com, New Hampshire has the seventh-highest rate of craft breweries per 100,000 residents in the country (5.6) and Smuttynose has been one of the most prominent in New England. But the company co-founded by Peter Egelston was overleveraged from a $22 million investment to build a new, LEED-certified brewery and restaurant on Towle Farm Road, which opened in 2014.
By: Max Sullivan, Seacoast Online
Smuttynose Brewing Company’s experimental branch Smuttlabs is making its return this week with its first new release since the creative line stopped production last year.
Lady Stardust, a New England style IPA named for one of Smuttlabs head brewer Charlie Ireland’s favorite David Bowie songs, will be introduced Saturday at 11 a.m. at the company’s campus at 105 Towle Farm Road for a brewery-exclusive release, sold in four packs of 16-ounce cans. It will be the first of what Smuttlabs hopes will be a monthly series of experimental beers sold at the facility as well as in some exclusive locations, according to Mariah Scanlon, brand manager of Smuttlabs.
Ireland, who has headed Smuttlabs since it launched in 2014, said he was always confident the experimental operation would start making beer again. The company began curtailing new releases in recent years due to financial struggles that led to the sale of Smuttynose, founder Peter Egelston said this year. New CEO Richard Lindsay has said new products would come as part of the brand’s revitalization.
Ireland said he is a music lover and has always equated the creativity that goes into brewing with that of music. He said “Lady Stardust” is one of his favorite songs from the Bowie album “Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.”
By: Adam Drapcho, The Laconia Daily Sun
It was 14 years ago that Scott Ouellette opened his Canoe, overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee. He now operates restaurants in Laconia, Wolfeboro, Concord, Bedford and Sunapee, as well as a catering company. This spring, he turned his attention back to his first store, giving it a floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall renovation, returning the shine to his first venture.
Thinking back on the day when he opened the doors for the first time, Ouellette said that he wasn’t sure how well his new take on American cuisine would be received by local diners.
“It was a little nerve-wracking at first, we went with a menu that was not very typical to what the Lakes Region was doing,” he said. His menu boasted Ahi tuna, Kobe burgers, and macaroni and cheese boasting chunks of lobster meat. In 2004, those dishes weren’t served in small towns like Center Harbor. He knew it was a gamble, and he said he even prepared a backup plan should the menu to fall flat on its face.
“It was definitely a roll of the dice. It was a different menu from what the area had seen before. It was either going to take off, or we were going to have to change the menu real quick,” he said.
By: Kimberly Houghton, Union Leader
LaBelle Winery is proceeding with its proposal to construct a new function space, distillery and tasting room behind its existing Amherst facility.
“This is the proposal that we are moving forward with,” Ken Clinton of Meridian Land Services told the planning board this week.
The new distillery, if approved by town planners, will be constructed on property located close to the current winery — not on property across the street as originally planned since litigation has stalled that initial concept.
“It is fairly close to the current building,” Clinton said of the new site during a discussion of the project.
He stressed the importance of being able to speak with all of the abutters before a formal site plan application is submitted to the planning board, which he hopes will take place in July.
By KIMBERLEY HAAS
RYE — The Carriage House in Rye reopened this week with new owners.
The historic restaurant at 2263 Ocean Blvd., built in 1931, was sold to R.J. Joyce and James Woodhouse by longtime owner Paul Mackey when he retired earlier this year.
Renovations began in February after Joyce and Woohouse financed the purchase of the restaurant with a Small Business Administration loan from Newburyport Five Cents Savings Bank.
Joyce and Woodhouse were forced to close Louie’s, an Italian restaurant in Portsmouth, last April because of damage from a fire at the neighboring State Street Saloon. The Carriage House marks the third restaurant for the duo, who have been best friends since high school. They greeted their first patrons at The Carriage House on Tuesday night.
The owners have been working to restore the two-story interior while adding some modern updates. The ground level was transformed into a light and bright space showcasing the beauty of Rye Beach across the road. The upstairs bar and dining room features new wood floors and steel gray walls where James Audubon’s “Birds of America” series is the focus. A wood-burning fireplace remains a cozy nook for a cocktail or dinner. Woodhouse said creating exceptional moments in hospitality is his team’s focus and that they hope to exceed everyone’s expectations.
Read more on the unionleader.com
By: John Koziol
NORTH WOODSTOCK — To keep up with modern times and tastes, the Woodstock Inn Brewery has relaunched its popular and well-known brand with new brews, an edgier look — and cans over bottles.
The rollout will culminate, for folks who are 21 years or age and older, with a free Relaunch Party that will be held at 7 p.m. Friday at the brewery.
Founded in 1996 by Scott and Peggy Rice — who a couple years earlier transformed a former train station on Main Street into the Woodstock Inn — the brewery spent more than a year and $100,000 to come up with the redesign.
“It’s a huge shift for us,” Scott Rice said, which essentially entailed “re-inventing the brewery.”
That said, the brewery will continue making its signature mainstays, Pig’s Ear Brown Ale, Red Rack Ale, 4000 Footer IPA and Woodstock Inn IPA, although the hops additions and yeast strains in them have been changed to reflect the evolving palates of consumers, said brewmaster Frank Heidenreich.
Additionally, the brewery will introduce a dozen new libations, some of which will be available exclusively at the brewery, while others also will be sold at retailers throughout New England.
All of the beers and ales coming out of the brewery will be in aluminum cans whose labels feature new art work and messaging; the brewery will be the only place where the beverages can be purchased in glass bottles.
By: Max Sullivan, Seacoast Online
Runnymede Investments of North Hampton plan to keep Smuttynose Brewing Co. alive as a New Hampshire staple, they said this week after being announced as the company’s new owners.Runnymede was named Smuttynose’s chosen buyer March 16, a week after the Provident Bank bought back the brewery at a foreclosure auction for $8.25 million. The purchase included the brand, as well as its $24-million facility and Hayseed Restaurant at 105 Towle Farm Road. It followed financial struggles caused by craft beer industry changes. The purchase amount was undisclosed, according to a press release from Smuttynose.
Andy Hart of Runnymede said Smuttynose has been a big part of his life personally. He recalled how he and his wife purchased every case of Finestkind IPA in stock at Gary’s Beverages in Portsmouth for their backyard wedding, then ordered more.
“I never would have thought that years later, Smuttynose would enter my life again and create more amazing memories,” said Hart.
In a statement from Runnymede, the new owners said founder Peter Egelston and his partner Joanne Francis “have created something magical here and we want to keep it that way.” Egelston is remaining in place as president for the immediate future, though he said Wednesday it is too early to tell what his long-term role with the brewery will be.
By: Catilin Andrews, Concord Monitor
Be sure to check over your shoulder when heading into Chuck’s BARbershop.
The location feels ripe for individuals looking to avoid extra attention. Start with the name of the alleyway: 90 Low Avenue, located in a tucked-away corner of Eagle Square.
The shop – a red-framed storefront – by all accounts, looks deserted. Tattered signs hang in the windows, warning that it has been closed down by authorities.
“For violation of National Prohibition Act by order of United States District Court,” one reads.
But the signs – and the barber chair set up just beyond the front door – are a smokescreen. And soon, with the right knowledge, you’ll be able to get behind the facade and enter the third speakeasy-style cocktail bar run by Claremont native Liu Vaine.