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How to design a brewery

Architectural rendering of Oak & Iron Brewing Co.Haynes Group

In December, the number of US breweries topped 5,000, more than doubling the total operating in the country just four years earlier. Massachusetts is well represented: In 2016, the state welcomed Everett’s Bone Up Brewing Co., Weymouth’s Barrel House Z, Dorchester Brewing Co., Malden’s Idle Hands Craft Ales, and Framingham’s Exhibit A Brewing Co., among many others. Each offers a decidedly different experience from picking up a six-pack at the store.

But what should the brewery experience look like, and how should it function? Anthony Lodi and Patrick Andrews, who work for Easton construction company the Haynes Group, are tackling these questions more and more frequently. Recently, the contractors took on the build-out of Trillium’s Canton brewery. They’re currently putting the finishing touches on Oak & Iron, a new brewery in Andover that’s expected to open sometime in February.


“With this type of client, they’re looking for the industrial space, and they’re looking to play a role in the revitalization of those spaces,” says Lodi, noting Oak & Iron’s takeover of a 209-year-old former mill that has manufactured timber, cotton, wool, and more over the years.

A brewery must be different things to different people. For customers, that means clean, comfortable spaces to stand on line to fill growlers and sit and sip from pint glasses.

“We really have an eye for making sure that particular piece of duct work is running in the right location, out of the manufacturing area, and not running through the tasting room where people are tasting beer,” says Andrews.

That manufacturing area, of course, is also hugely important. It’s where brewers make the beer, shovel spent grain, and zip the finished product around on fork lifts. Getting the huge fermentation tanks into the building can itself be a production. From there, there’s a back and forth with brewers that goes above and beyond what comes with, say, redoing an office building.


“This is their livelihood,” says Lodi. “They’re on site every day, and they’re very involved in every decision. We’re working in their kitchen. It’s a very personal project.”

Oak & Iron Brewing Co. will resemble many of the breweries you’re familiar with: exposed brick, rustic old beams, concrete floor. The former mill is situated next to the Shawsheen River, and outdoor seating by the water is planned. The tap room will offer in-house tastings, growler fills, and snacks.

Gary Dzen can be reached at gary.dzen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GaryDzen