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Home-brewer takes step toward opening brewery

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POTSDAM - A local home-brewer has taken the first step toward his dream of opening a micro-brewery in Potsdam.

The village of Potsdam’s Planning Board voted Wednesday night to grant a site plan approval to Jason D. Lorenc’s proposed Good Medicine Brewing Company at 43 Maple St., the location of the former Angelo’s Seafood Restaurant.

Dr. Lorenc, who also works a day job as an emergency room physician, doesn’t expect his Good Medicine Brewing Company to come to fruition for another three to four years, as he will need the time to finish renovating the building and to perfect his beer recipes.

“This is going to take my hobby out of my basement and put it on the street,” Mr. Lorenc said.

Dr. Lorenc has no plans to sell the beer to other retailers or to allow consumption, aside from tasting, inside the store. The micro-brewery will sell its beers for take-home and may try to sell to some local bars and restaurants, he said.

This caused some confusion among board members as to how to classify the proposed brewery.

“How do you class this?” asked Frederick Hanss, director of the Potsdam office of Planning and Development. “It’s not a restaurant or bar. It might come closest to a light industrial operation.”

Brooks Washburn, the architect for the project, noted that it would be similar to bakeries and supermarkets, which make culinary products for consumption off-location.

Dr. Lorenc does not believe his proposed brewery will cause any noise or odor disturbances. He likened the smell of brewing beer to that of baking bread.

The board also pointed out that code requires a customer parking space for every 200 square feet of building space. With 2,400 square feet, the proposed brewery would need 12 spaces, and the site currently has only eight spaces. However, the board decided a lack of parking would be unlikely, as most customers would likely spend less time in the brewery as they would in a restaurant or department store.

“You’ve never going to have a lack of parking,” Mr. Washburn said.

Though his vision may be a long way from fruition, Dr. Lorenc is looking forward to running the Good Medicine Brewing Company. He noted that micro-breweries have more ability to experiment with different flavors of beer, due to the smaller size of the batches they can create.

“It’s going to be fun. It’ll be nice to have a locally-produced beer in Potsdam,” he said.

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