Brewery leases out former fire station for $1 a year
NASHUA, N.H. (AP) — Thanks to a $1 per year lease agreement, the bays of the city-owned former fire station at 14 Court St. will once again open after the building sat vacant for several years.
Only this time, beer will flow inside because the new nanobrewery, Liquid Therapy LLC, is on tap.
“This is the typical American dream,” business co-founder Jason Palmer said. “We’re trying to scrape together and do all we can with our two hands to make our dream come true. It’s tough, but this is what our country was built on. The weight of the world is on our shoulders, but we’re ready for the task.”
Palmer, along with partner Stan Tremblay, began work at the building July 9.
“It’s a full rehaul: plumbing, electrical, HVAC, you name it,” Tremblay said of the necessary renovations.
Mayor Jim Donchess could not immediately be reached for comment for this report. However, a lease agreement the city entered earlier this month allows Palmer and Tremblay use of the building for the sum of $1 per year.
“Mayor Donchess really has a great vision to try to reprogram the building and make it active to benefit the downtown, trying to be proactive,” Nashua Director of Economic Development Tim Cummings said. “An out-of-the-box idea was to program the fire apparatus bay with a use that would be compatible with downtown and it was great that this microbrewery came along, and it seemed like a perfect fit.”
The terms of the agreement state the rate of $1 per year is good for up to five years. If business stays in place for a sixth year, the base rate will go to $30,000 per year. It would then escalate by $1,800 each year thereafter.
“We’re looking to try to reprogram the building so it can be a benefit for the downtown to bring life and community back to the heart of the city,” Cummings said.
Cummings said after serving the city as a fire station, the building was converted for multiple cultural and artistic uses, such as a children’s museum and an arts and science center. He said after that, in the 1990s, things slowed down.
The building was left in a fairly haphazard condition for quite a few years.
Tremblay and Palmer hope to open their doors to the public on Oct. 1, while they plan to start the brewing process on approximately Aug. 20. City officials will be replacing all four doors with brand new, more serviceable restaurant-type doors, as well.
Most of the furniture will most likely be handmade by the two, with every nook and cranny having their blood, sweat and tears in it.
“We want our customers to feel, and know and relate to that,” Palmer said. “When our Founding Fathers came here, they didn’t come with a boat load of money. They built it on their backs and I feel this is the American dream.”
Beer and Grub
Palmer and Tremblay said Liquid Therapy will feature “therapeutic” beverages for those old enough to indulge. They want their nanobrewery to be a place where people can leave their worries on the sidewalk and come in to share a couple drinks with their friends and relax.
Tremblay and Palmer plan on having unique brews to incorporate into some of their menu options. Tremblay said menu items will include buffalo chicken nachos, wraps, sandwiches and vegetarian options, all crafted with homemade ingredients, such as fresh mayos and mustards.
“Since about 10 or so, I’ve been cooking in the kitchen, but in the past year or so, I’ve been volunteering at the food bank in Manchester, and working at the Radisson and getting knowledge from executive chefs over there,” Tremblay said. “It’s been a great journey and I’m certain that what I learned brought me to a different level.”
In honing his craft, Tremblay said he also wants to get into some homemade popcorn and homemade caramel to drizzle on top to make his own caramel corn. Other ideas he is considering are homemade tomato soup and beer ice cream. With a simple yet complex menu, they hope to make some mustards with their beers to pair with pretzels or on a sandwich.
Palmer said Liquid Therapy will not be a standard bar. They realize a children’s theater is nearby, and aim to be good neighbors.
As far as the beer goes, starting out they will have only ales, but hope to eventually offer a wide variety of brews.
“I’ve really tried to kind of push the limits with those things just because I find the industry, right now, is made up of bitter hops, and I don’t think that’s everything the hop can give,” Tremblay said. “I’m trying to do the flavor and aroma side of what a hop can provide.”
Tremblay said he’d much rather tweak the industry, realizing that New England has an IPA that’s starting to work it’s way west toward California.
“You know, California likes to plow the field with their style of beer and it’s already come over here — the west coast IPA,” Tremblay said. “I want something brand new, something I can put my flag on the moon and say we landed here first. I’m up for the challenge and I want to make it happen.”
Palmer said they have been receiving huge support from the Fire Department and have future plans to set up events with its members. They aim to raise money through different events to then give back to charities, such as the food bank where Tremblay learned some of his cooking skills.
“Working there really touches your heart because of the amount of stuff that people don’t have around this state,” Tremblay said. “You think, ‘Huh, we go to the grocery store and buy what we want.’ But a lot of people, up north especially, don’t have a lot of food, and it’s either I get my medicine this month or get food. The food bank really helps out a lot in that and I want to do my part.”
Information from: The Telegraph, http://www.nashuatelegraph.com