Bad Martha Brewing Company plans to open a new microbrewery and retail store on a portion of the property now occupied by Donaroma’s Nursery on Upper Main Street in Edgartown.
The Edgartown planning board met last week and approved a special permit to construct a 1,905-square-foot structure on a preexisting location for a microbrewery that will feature a ten-seat tasting area on the inside and 24 seats outside under a pergola.
The planning board unanimously approved the application on January 7. Planning board member and local businessman Fred Mascolo said the fact that Donaroma’s is already classified as a B2 business district made it an easy decision to make.
“The addition of a craft brewery is a great addition to the town,” Mr. Mascolo told The Times. “We know it works. We’ve seen it work in Oak Bluffs and we’re ready to see it work here.”
Residents of Dark Woods Road, the street that runs parallel to Donaroma’s Nursery, raised concerns at the January 7 meeting, including the impact of traffic and parking in the surrounding neighborhood.
“We don’t anticipate much change to the area,” said Sean Murphy, the attorney representing Bad Martha’s. “This is a family-oriented brewery and retail space. That’s the market. It’s not for the people going out drinking, there are plenty of venues for them.”
Bad Martha Brewing made its product debut in bars, restaurants, and package stores last summer with the introduction of two ales: Vineyard Summer Ale, and Martha’s Vineyard Ale, the company’s flagship amber ale.
Owners, Jonathan Blum, a seasonal resident of Edgartown, and Tisbury resident Peter Rosbeck II will be leasing the property from Donaroma’s.
A portion of the existing greenhouse will be removed and a new building will be constructed adjacent to the remaining portion of the greenhouse. Donaroma’s is owned by Edgartown selectman Michael Donaroma.
Architect Patrick Ahearn has been commissioned to design the structure which will be modeled like an old barn.
“We looked at some of the small microbreweries around the country and tried to come up with something that could be a part of the Donaroma world,” Mr. Ahearn told The Times. “We wanted to come up with a scene that is a good balance between the existing area and something you would find in Napa or the California wine region.”
Bad Martha beer is currently distributed in 24 restaurants and nine stores on the Island. The beer is bottled and brewed in Ipswich. The building will be used to brew small batches of seasonal beers as well as a tasting and testing facility for the company.
“It’s really a marketing tool to let the public see how the beer is made and to try the beer without having to buy a whole bottle if people want to,” Mr. Murphy said. “This would serve as their flagship store.”
The proposal also includes a retail area and outdoor seating in the summer months, as well as small food items like cheese to taste with seasonal brews.
The next steps for Bad Martha’s will be to obtain a farmers brewing permit from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and a seasonal beer and liquor license from the town of Edgartown.
“This is not a full bar,” Mr. Murphy said. “It is a testing and tasting facility. We want to make that distinction.”
Asked if the microbrewery and store will be subject to Martha’s Vineyard Commission (MVC) review, Mr. Murphy said in his opinion it is not warranted.
“In my review, it doesn’t hit any of the DRI (development of regional impact) triggers,” Mr. Murphy said. “It’s not really a bar; it’s a farmers brewery. There’s already a retail operation replacing another retail operation. There will be no dramatic change in use. A brewery always sounds bigger than it is, and we’re talking about 1900 square feet, which is very small.”
DRI Analyst and MVC Planner Paul Foley told The Times he has not seen the plans for the microbrewery, but he said it might trigger a DRI based on the construction of a new building.
Mr. Foley cited the relevant DRI regulation that would trigger review: “New construction of additions or auxiliary building’s totaling 1,000 square feet or more of floor area, such square footage resulting in a total square footage of 2,000 feet or more, with MVC concurrence.”