When Equilibrium Brewery opened in Middletown back in 2016, co-founders Peter Oates and Ricardo Petroni had no idea what to expect. Sure, the MIT graduates thought their scientifically balanced beer would do well — but they never expected it would grow to quite the scale that it has.
Skip ahead to 2019, and Equilibrium regularly welcomes lines of 200 to 300 people on Saturday mornings during its weekly can releases (they’re at 11:30 a.m., in case you’re wondering). Throughout the year, it produces around 2,500 barrels of beer, a quantity that is far from sufficient when it comes to meeting public requests. Recognizing the imbalance between supply and an ever-growing demand, Equilibrium decided to take the plunge and expand its presence in the Hudson Valley.
This March, the brewery closed on what will be its second site in Middletown. The company, which currently operates at 22 Henry Street in town, purchased the former TD Bank building at the corner of East Main and South Streets across from the Paramount Theatre. The property, which Equilibrium acquired from the city, boasts 27,000 square feet and ample parking for visitors.
“We want to create a better taproom and restaurant experience,” explains Equilibrium representative Todd Lyons on the decision to purchase a second property. Indeed, the notion of experience is a driving factor behind the new location, which will function as a restaurant, taproom, and additional brewing space. The original spot will continue as an operational headquarters and brewing site, while the new one will be a true destination for visitors who want to immerse themselves in all things Equilibrium.
Although the new taproom and restaurant are exciting in and of themselves, the most notable win from the purchase is undoubtedly the increased opportunity to brew the brand’s cult-classic beers. In fact, once the new brew site is complete, it will quadruple production to an estimated 10,000 to 12,000 barrels a year. If that sounds like a lot of beer, then you just haven’t seen the Saturday morning lines yet.
Although the dust just cleared on the deal, the brewery is already at work on demolition. Currently, it awaits approval on building permits from the city. Once that comes through, it plans to jump into construction with an estimated completion date toward the end of 2019. At the location, Equilibrium will offer indoor and outdoor seating, with fire pits and picnic tables for guests to enjoy the ambiance year-round. Inside, the taproom and restaurant, which will hold an estimated 250 people and prioritize oversized windows and natural light, will invite visitors to grab a glass or a bite to eat, while private areas will allow for additional brewing opportunities.
For those of you wondering, can releases will continue at the Henry Street location for now, although they’ll eventually move over to the Main and South spot once it’s up and running. Cans will be available for pickup at the outdoor share area, an open-air pavilion that will be a hub for the community and out-of-town visitors alike.
All in all, “the new space is going to be state-of-the-art,” Lyons declares. He’s excited for construction to begin, since it signifies the start of a new chapter for Equilibrium in the Hudson Valley and, more specifically, in Middletown.
“It’s where people know we’re from,” he says. “It’s good to keep [Equilibrium] centered where we [already] are.”