By George Lenker | May 16
Beer Nut: White Lion Brewing to launch in Springfield
Holyoke has one; Westfield has one; Greenfield has one, Amherst has one: Deerfield has one, and Northampton has had one for nearly three decades. Easthampton will soon have three.
But Springfield doesn’t have one. What we’re talking about here, of course, is a brewery.
In this craft beer renaissance, you might think the biggest city in Western Massachusetts would have grabbed onto the trend and made hay (or beer) with it. But with the exception of the ill-fated Pioneer Valley Brewpub in the 1990s (which never actually got around to brewing on premises) the City of Homes has not been home to a brewery in many, many decades.
But if Raymond Berry has anything to say about it, that will soon change.
Berry is in the initial stages of launching White Lion Brewing, which will be ultimately housed in Springfield. The company will start doing contract brewing in Ipswich for the first 18 months or so to get established, during which time Berry will seek a good location in Springfield to house the brewing operation.
Berry, being a businessman–he is the chief financial officer of the United Way of Pioneer Valley–had to find a brewer for his product and he couldn’t have picked a better guy than he did in choosing Mike Yates, formerly of Amherst Brewing Co. and Berkshire Brewing Co. Yates also currently brews for Cambridge House in Granby, Conn.
“I was given a few brewers’ names, but I met Mike first and after that I knew I didn’t have to look any further,” Berry said.
The brewery will begin with four beers: a pale ale, a cream ale, a red ale, and a black IPA. Berry and Yates hope to begin brewing in earnest in the fall and possibly open up shop in Springfield in late 2015 or early 2016. Berry keeps an open mind as far a location within the city, but hopes to be downtown.
“We’d like to be part of the downtown renaissance,” he said. “So if the Fort needs our beer, we can just handtruck it over to them.”