Tapping out of Williston

Burlington Beer to move tap room to Flynn Ave. while production ramps up in Williston 


Observer staff 

This will be the first and last summer for a full brewpub experience at the Burlington Beer Company’s location on South Brownell Road in Williston. 

After seven years at the spot, the company finally had all the pieces in place. It received an outdoor consumption permit last month for patio food and drink service and, for the past three years, had pushed town planners to expand the restaurant and retail space allowed in the industrial zoning district where it manufactures its brews. 

But the facility will return to its industrial roots this year as the company moves its tap room to a historic brick building in Burlington’s south end, clearing space for increased production in Williston. The company will continue to offer beer can sales in Williston. 

Burlington Beer plans a July opening of a 14,000-square-foot restaurant and tap room at 180 Flynn Avenue. The location is a stone’s throw from Switchback Brewery and one of Citizen Cider’s manufacturing facilities. 

“I just finished building a wall that separates the tap room from the brewing equipment in Williston and was getting ready to have our first summer with that deck out front finally getting used for the first time,” said Burlington Beer founder Joe Lemnah. “But I’ve always had an eye on getting a Burlington location. 

“Really what I need in Williston is space for more tanks to make more beer,” he added. “Making this move allows us to grow our production in Williston, and having this showpiece facility in Burlington is just going to elevate our taproom experience to another level.” 

The company plans to install 10 new fermenters in Williston to double its production over the next two years. Also, a second underground tank is planned to hold brewing waste to be periodically emptied and taken to an anaerobic digester. 

Burlington Beer Company first opened in Williston in 2014. Lemnah had hoped to launch the company in Burlington, but wasn’t ready, as a startup, to afford Burlington rent. He has heard the occasional wisecrack about Burlington Beer not being located in Burlington, and he’s happy to “bring the Burlington back to Burlington Beer.” 

“I considered changing the name,” he said, recalling his opening in Williston. “Most people don’t care about it but there’s always that one person …” 

Burlington Beer now leases 21,000 square feet in the South Brownell Road building it shares with the Get Air indoor trampoline park after starting with about 5,000 square feet. The company also rents a separate barrel aging facility on Boyer Circle in Williston. 

Lemnah said there is still room to grow in Williston, and with the retail space allowances that he pushed town planners to create now in place in the industrial zoning district, he said a tap room may eventually return. 

“I’m glad that the codes could get up to date and start meeting modern business needs,” he said, “and I do hope to have a tap room experience come back to Williston one day.”