CONWAY — The operators of Tuckerman Brewing Co. received the Conway Planning Board's conditional approval for expansion plans that include a 2,050-square-foot addition, more parking, more restrooms and 498-seat restaurant at their business on Hobbs St. in Conway Village.
Kate Richardson, project manager from Bergeron Technical Services, presented the plan to the board on June 24, with company principal Shawn Bergeron providing backup from the audience.
Also on hand were Tuckerman owner-operators Nik Stanciu and Kirsten Neves, who co-founded at a different site in Conway Village in 1998 before moving to Hobbs Street adjacent to their current quarters at 66 Hobbs St.
The site plan includes:
• A total of 498 restaurant seats and construct a 2,050-square foot addition to the existing brewery.
• A 600-square-foot walk-in cooler.
• A 1,200-square-foot covered concrete mechanical pad.
• A 250-square foot covered stage (that project has already been completed in time for the summer concert series at Tuckerman’s, held Fridays 4-7 p.m. and Saturday and Sundays, 3-6 p.m.
• A 2,400-square-foot open-air pavilion.
• A 400-square-foot concession building.
• A 600-square-foot patron restroom building with associated infrastructure.
The board also unanimously approved a lot merger for parking, merging PID 277-182.1 and 183 into one lot of record. According to planning assistant Holly Whitelaw, that lot is 2.57 acres and the brewery’s existing property is 2 acres, so the merged lot will measure 4.57 acres and new parking lot will provide 173 spaces.
Because the project is located in the industrial-1 district, the applicants had sought a waiver for a required number of street trees and granite curbing.
Richardson asked whether Tuckerman’s hops garden could be considered as part of the town’s green space requirement, but the board wasn’t going along with that.
Richardson proposed 15 trees versus the required 32. But selectmen’s representative Steve Porter, said: “I think in the long run, more trees would be more beneficial and more compliant. We were very generous with our other waivers.”
Alternate Steve Steiner also urged them to enhance the area with street trees as a visual improvement. Vice chair Ailee Byers said trees would help screen the sound of music from live bands and also provide some shade.
After further discussion, the requested street tree waiver was denied.
Town Planning Director Tom Irving — who retired the following day — said the question regarding granite curbing is currently awaiting a decision by town engineer Paul DegliAngeli.
The board granted unanimous conditional approval for the other waivers Tuckerman requested, however, including adding underground utilities, allowing a second driveway for utility access and for the parking lot to remain gravel, not paved.
The project will be done over several years, Richardson said.
Phase 1 will include adding parking lot off Hobbs Street to the south of the outdoor music area; the mechanical pad at south side; the already built stage; and the bathroom addition.
Phase 2 will be the deck, walk-in cooler and pavilion. And phase 3 is the proposed addition to the north side and the breezeway.
Stanciu and Neves explained after the meeting that Tuckerman currently relies on the generosity of its neighbors to use the parking areas associated with those businesses, including the Hobbs Street office building owned by Selectman Carl Thibodeau.
Thibodeau was present in the audience and has been generally supportive of Tuckerman’s efforts. Town staff, however, has had concerns about there not being a formal agreement regarding the parking situation, leading Stancieu and Neves to purchase the abutting lot to the south last year.
The owners said they envision having a takeout window for patrons to eat pub food such as pizza when attending outdoor events.
Tuckerman Brewing now employs a staff of about 35, according to Stanciu and Neves.
Pre-pandemic they hosted events in the tasting room. “That’s what we look forward to getting back to,” Stanciu said.
The company distributes its craft beers such as Tuckerman Pale Ale and Headwall Alt to stores throughout Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. It now produces about 8,000 barrels of beer a year, equivalent to approximately 70,000 cases.