Brewer Ferments His Plans For County's First Brew Pub

March 03, 1991|By Carol L. Bowers | Carol L. Bowers,Staff writer

Stanley H. Pettingill needs only one thing to begin making his dreamof owning the first pub brewery in Harford County into a reality -- permission from the General Assembly.

Pettingill already has the ale recipes, the home-brewing experience and the memories of his first sips of home-brewed beer as a 12-year-old boy to fuel his project.

With the backing of Sen. William H. Amoss Jr., D-District 35A, Pettingill could be only a few months away from winning the required state permission.

The Senate Economic and Environmental Affairs Committee is scheduled to conduct a hearing at 1 p.m. March 14 on legislation that would allow pub breweries in the county. If the bill, sponsored by Amoss, passes the committee, it will be voted on by the Senate. If it passes, the bill will be sent to the House of Delegates.

Pettingill's plans for the brew pub have been on hold since last spring, when he learned his request wasn't considered in time to meet the 1990 General Assembly's filing deadline for bills.

State law permits brew pubs -- taverns where beer is manufactured and sold on the premises to patrons -- in Anne Arundel and Dorchester counties and Baltimore city.

"I was really disappointed last year," Pettingill said. "But when I went down to Annapolis and talked to the delegation (two weeks ago), I was pleased by the response. I think I've got a really good shot at it this year."

Delegates Rosemary Hatem Bonsack, D-District 34, and David R. Craig, R-District 34, have said they willsupport the bill should it reach the House.

"Now I have to meet with the county economic development people to see if they can help mefind a site," Pettingill said.

He said he has looked at sites in Havre de Grace, Aberdeen and Bel Air but hasn't been able to do muchmore than look because he doesn't yet have permission from the General Assembly to operate the pub brewery.

Pettingill, a 60-year-old program analyst for the Social Security Administration, said his wifeand three sons will help operate the brewery. He plans to keep his job at the Social Security Administration.

"It's going to be the kind of place where you can go in and have a cool one or two. Maybe a half-pint, or a pint or a liter," he said.

He wants to model his brew pub on pubs in Great Britain that brew their owns ales and have arestaurant with a family atmosphere.

Brew pubs are allowed to make no more than 2,000 barrels of beer a year.

"Professionals can come in at lunchtime, and families can come in for lunch and dinner, and the younger ones can come in after the dinner hour."

Pettingill said the beers and ales he brews for his own consumption at home aren't like the lagers brewed commercially in the United States. He uses malted barley extract -- no grains. He's been brewing his own beer and ale at home for about three years, he said. He believes there's a market for his product and has closely followed the successful openingof the Chili's Restaurant on U.S. 1 in Bel Air.

"Chili's has beensuccessful because it caters to families, and serves alcoholic beverages for the 21-to-35 crowd," he said. "The reason that place is successful is that the young people go there after the dinner hour.

"If I can get a decent location we could do really well."

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