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Logan Shaw Brewing Company, whose founders wanted to make and sell beer in the area of Northwest D.C. by the same name, have changed course since hatching the idea for a neighborhood brewery a year ago.
President Jeff Harrison and his partners started serious planning last summer. After months of searching for a suitable space in D.C., the company has decided to set up shop outside the District. Harrison has signed a lease on a 17,000-square-foot brewing space in Brentwood, Maryland. The new location is miles from 1250 9th Street, NW, where Harrison, longtime manager at nearby Modern Liquors, had hoped to base the brewery.
According to Loren Leroy, one of Harrison’s partners, zoning laws and overhead costs prevented the start-up brewery from finding a building in D.C. “It was a big knockdown for us not to be able to operate in Logan Shaw,” says Leroy. “We have had a fabulous response from Maryland. In D.C., it was more, ‘No, you can’t do this. We’re not going to let you do that.'”
The company is headed towards the Chesepeake Bay with their brewing plans as well as their space. In December, Logan Shaw Brewing Company agreed to purchase Wild Goose, a 21-year-old Maryland beer brand originally based in Cambridge on the Eastern Shore. With popular brews like Snow Goose Winter Ale and the motto, “Traditional English Ales inspired by the Chesapeake Bay,” Wild Goose was a thriving brewery with a strong local following from its start in 1989. But in 1997, due to over-expansion, Wild Goose was purchased by Frederick Brewing Company and forced to move across the Bay.
Flying Dog acquired the brand in 2006 when the Denver, Colorado-based brewery bought Wild Goose’s parent company and facility in Frederick, Maryland. In early 2007, Flying Dog moved all brewing operations from Denver to Frederick. By November 2010, demand for Flying Dog beer increased so much the brewery announced they no longer had the capacity to produce Wild Goose beers.
The sale of Wild Goose from Flying Dog to Logan Shaw will be finalized when the balance is paid this month. Harrison and his team have been looking for a company to contract brew Wild Goose’s IPA, Amber, and Winter Ale. Logan Shaw’s own brewery, which is planned to be a 15-barrel facility with 30-barrel fermenters capable of producing 7,200 barrels of beer a year, will not be ready until 2012. They have an interested company but a contract has not been signed yet. Harrison prefers for the brewery to remain unnamed but is confident Wild Goose will be back on the market by March or April.
What does this mean for Logan Shaw’s own line of beer, which will include federal government-themed In Session Pale Ale, Appropriation Golden Ale, and Bureaucrat Brown Ale?
“If the facility we work with wants to do Logan Shaw beers for us, it could happen in the foreseeable future, within six months or so. But right now we are focusing on keeping Wild Goose alive and well,” says Harrison.
Logan Shaw Brewing Company will have a registered office in D.C. and hopes to eventually open a brew pub in the neighborhood it intended to call home. In the meantime, Harrison, Leroy, and partners Dan Forsyth and Ed Anderson will be busy seeing that Wild Goose bottles consistently stay on shelves in Maryland and Delaware before they will be able to bring either Wild Goose or Logan Shaw beers to the District.
Read more Young & Hungry coverage of start-up breweries in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia.