‘Growlers to Go’ : Brewery seeks to open in Morristown

Architect Jeff Rawding's rendition of proposed Wild Bones Brewery in Morristown. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Architect Jeff Rawding's rendition of proposed Wild Bones Brewery in Morristown. Photo by Kevin Coughlin


Take a tour. Grab a “growler-to-go.” Just don’t call it a brew pub.

The Wild Bones Brewing Co. seeks Morristown’s permission to open a brewery at 95 Morris St.

Unlike a brew pub, a brewery serves no food and consumer sales are restricted. So liquor licensing from the state is much cheaper, according to documents filed with the town zoning board, which is scheduled to hear the application for a use variance on Wednesday, April 19, 2017.

Wild Bones, which lists a present address in an apartment on Ridgedale Avenue, wants to occupy about 4,800 square feet behind a T-Mobile shop.

The proposed brewery would operate a “tasting room,” and offer tours to a maximum of 15 people at a time, Wednesdays through Fridays from 4 pm to 10 pm, Saturdays from noon to 10 pm, and Sundays from noon to 6 pm.

A Limited Brewery License would entitle Wild Bones to “brew any malt alcoholic beverage” in a quantity up to 300,000 barrels of 31- fluid gallons capacity per year, for sale to wholesalers and retailers, the application states.

Additionally, such a license would allow retail sales to consumers “for consumption on the premises in connection with a tour of the brewery, or for consumption off the premises in a quantity of not more than 15.5 fluid gallons per person.”

The facility would include five fermentation tanks and the tasting room would seat 60 persons around a dozen tables. A patio would add 18 seats around three tables. Three garbage/recycling bins would be outside.

Production hours would be on an as-needed basis.  Guests would not be permitted to bring food onto the premises, for fear of contaminating the beer.  Exception: If they are renting the space for a private event that could be monitored closely.

Wild Bones Brewery proposed signage. Source: Topology report.
Wild Bones Brewery proposed signage. Source: Topology report.

Otherwise, visitors would be encouraged “to grab a ‘growler to-go’ and have food elsewhere,” according to the application.

Artisanal soda and cold-brewed coffee also would be sold.

The property is in a Central Business District-2 zone. The project needs a use variance–breweries are not a permitted use in Morristown.  It also has no off-street parking; 24 spaces are required, according to calculations submitted by town Planner Phil Abramson.

Wild Bones also seeks permission for two wall signs, where only one is allowed.  And it wants to exceed the maximum 40-square-foot sign size, to 44 square feet.

Among other things, the applicant must prove “special reasons” that make the use variance beneficial, while also showing it won’t be “substantially detrimental to the public good” or “substantially impair” the town zoning plan, Abramson indicated.

Small breweries represent a growing industry across New Jersey and the country, according to Abramson, and their unique characteristics include production similarities to an industrial use and consumption similarities to a restaurant or bar.

“As such…breweries should be treated as a separate use and not treated as an industrial use or a restaurant use,” the planner recommended.

A Limited Brewery License from the state costs between $1,250 and $7,500, depending on how many barrels of beer are brewed annually, the Wild Bones documents say.  A Retail Consumption License, by comparison, can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in Morristown.


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  1. I support the concept and idea of the Town allowing for a brewery.

    However, I think the owners making the application should not have used the term “drunken idiots” in any context. It is Morristown’s vibrant bar and restaurant presence and the patrons that have paved the way for the potential success of their brewery concept or any other concept for that matter.

    If Morristown was all retail, I seriously doubt they would have selected Morristown.

    Biting the hand that feeds you is never a good idea.

  2. Very exciting development and project. Great re-use of a former auto parts store. I think this is definitely unique and continues to put Morristown on the map

  3. Awesome use of that space. A difficult space to lease after auto shop left. Plus the environmental issues alone will scare others away. If they can make this work it will bring foot traffic and a vibrant business to a otherwise depressed corner.