Budding brewmasters promise Morristown board Beer Tourists, not ‘drunken idiots’

Wild Bones partners Anthony Necco, Steven McConnell and Scott and Alaine Anderson. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Wild Bones partners Anthony Necco, Steven McConnell and Scott and Alaine Anderson. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
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They are four musketeers, crusading for a common cause: Beer.

But their Wild Bones Brewing Co. venture, if approved, won’t have a bar, or blaring music, or TVs.

“We don’t want you to come here, watch a football game and get rowdy. We have a no- tolerance policy on drunken idiots,” Alaine Anderson told the Morristown zoning board on Wednesday.

Partners Steven McConnell and Alaine Anderson listen to their lawyer, Doug Henshaw. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Partners Steven McConnell and Alaine Anderson listen to their lawyer, Doug Henshaw. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Anderson, 30, her husband Scott Anderson, 32, and their friends Anthony Necco, 32, and Steven McConnell, 29, want to start a brewery in a former auto repair shop at 95 Morris St.

Not a brew pub, mind you. That would involve food, which brings extra sanitation concerns for the delicate brewing process–and much costlier liquor licenses.

Rather, the Wild Bones team said it intends to promote “beer tourism,” with tours of the 4,500-square-foot brewery culminating in a “tasting room” where patrons can sample  beers and buy “growlers to go.” 

Beer also would be sold to area bars and restaurants. Private parties might book the brewery as well.

“It’s a family friendly, casual, laid-back atmosphere… We want people to come have a good conversation over a local, creative product,” said Alaine Anderson, comparing the vibe to the Twin Elephant Brewing Co. in Chatham.

The Wild Bones partners need a use variance because breweries are not included in Morristown’s zoning master plan. Questions about signage, noise, deliveries, parking and production hours must be resolved, too.

‘PELLETIZED ENDOSPERM’

Friends and family of the applicants packed Wednesday’s hearing, which included testimony from architect Jeff Rawding.  Attorney Doug Henshaw said he will present project planning consultant Michael Tobia, along with details about signs and a fire exit, when the hearing resumes on May 17, 2017.

Architect Jeff Rawding with rendition of the Wild Bones brewery. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Architect Jeff Rawding with rendition of the Wild Bones brewery. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

The applicants are well aware of controversies involving Morristown’s busy bar scene on South Street.

“We’re doing everything we can to distance ourselves from that,” Henshaw said.

Brewing could run from 8 am to 10 pm on Mondays and Tuesdays and “as needed,” Alaine Anderson said. Tasting tours would be scheduled for the remainder of the week.

Although state and local regulations allow for greater capacity, the partners envision maximum occupancy of 75 persons inside and 30 on the patio, according to Rawding, the architect. Those estimates include seated and standing patrons.

Zoning board Chairwoman Meredith Marcus and Vice-Chairman Michael Schmidt at Wild Bones hearing. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Zoning board Chairwoman Meredith Marcus and Vice-Chairman Michael Schmidt at Wild Bones hearing. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Board members got a crash course in brewing– although the partners actually anticipate spending more time cleaning than brewing, Alaine Anderson said.

Waste water will be evaporated, and used grain will be donated to area farmers.

Partner Steven McConnell’s brewing primer was replete with references to crushed and pelletized endosperm, yeast, heat exchangers, fermentation vessels, and boil kettles.

“We read a lot of books,” McConnell told MorristownGreen.com. 

GIANT LEAP

The Morristown High School graduate resides in Morris Plains and is a concessions manager for the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. He has taught guitar at the Original Music School, and toured with the band Murder and the Harlot.

Wild Bones partners Anthony Necco, Scott and Alaine Anderson and Steven McConnell. Photo by Kevin Coughlin.
Wild Bones partners Anthony Necco, Scott and Alaine Anderson and Steven McConnell. Photo by Kevin Coughlin.

But home brewing has been McConnell’s passion for the last four years. The same goes for Anthony Necco, a Morristown native who is beer manager at Kings and a former freelancer for the Colbert Report (graphics) and Villa Enterprises (video).

They met the Andersons at Morristown’s End of Elm tavern, where Scott Anderson is beer buyer and bartender.

“We all love craft beers,” said Alaine Anderson, whose degree is in architecture.

Zoning board members Scott Wild, left, and Jeffrey Stiles question brewery applicants. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Zoning board members Scott Wild, left, and Jeffrey Stiles question brewery applicants. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

She and her husband each have more than a dozen years of experience working in restaurants and bars. They live in Morristown with their 2-year-old daughter, Adriana.

Wild Bones–the name was inspired by the song Rotten Bones by New Jersey band Gaslight Anthem–is a giant leap for the partners.  Brewing gear will cost them about $200,000, Alaine Anderson said.

It’s also uncharted territory for the zoning board.

“This is a unique and emerging type of thing,” town Planner Phil Abramson said of breweries. “They’re ahead of our code. That’s why we’re here.”

Wild Bones audience includes building owner Jim DeMaio, front, and his wife Lorna. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Wild Bones audience includes building owner Jim DeMaio, front, and his wife Lorna. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Chatham's Twin Elephant gives an idea of how Wild Bones might look.
Chatham’s Twin Elephant gives an idea of how Wild Bones might look.
DO YOU SWEAR... Planner Michael Tobia and Wild Bones partners Steven McConnell and Alaine Anderson prepare to testify. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
DO YOU SWEAR… Planner Michael Tobia and Wild Bones partners Steven McConnell and Alaine Anderson prepare to testify. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

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5 COMMENTS

  1. Why do the applicants choose to berate the existing bar restaurants. Get your approval on your own merits.

  2. Morristown lacks innovation…this would be an incredible opportunity for Morristown to progress and create a civilized, yet sophisticated craft beer tourist opportunity to make a statement on the New Jersey state Map!!

  3. Let’s do it. We need more innovation and options in town. Good vibes from these venues. Would love Morristown to become a mini Austin. Now let’s get a live music venue.

  4. I know the two brewers and I can tell you they are responsible, smart creative adults. They are surely not looking to get into the same nonsense going on on South Street.

    I have had Steve teach students of all ages at my music school and he was always kind, courteous, and good for my business. I am sure these gentlemen will be an asset to Morristown.

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