New Britain City Journal

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Business Feature

Alvarium Beer Eyes May Opening


The owners of Alvarium Beer plan to open their brewery up to customers in early May.

Co-owners Mike Larson (operations manager), Chris DeGasero (head brewer) and Brian Bugnacki (sales and support) are opening a 5,000 square foot space at 365 John Downey Drive.

“We signed the lease in October and spent the whole time digging up the floor to put in drains. It was a long project,” said DeGasero. “We’ve been doing all the work ourselves.”

Ron Page, from City Steam built a bar made out of red oak. It is 25 by 5 feet long on I-beams.

“We took the I-beams and cleaned them up and ground the imperfections out of them and painted them with an epoxy paint,” said Larson.

The group plans to put in custom tables and 35 bar stools.

It also launched a kickstarter program last week which raised over $15,000 in 9 hours. It allows customers to buy t-shirts, bottle openers, name your own beer, brew with them for a day and more. You can find it at under Alvarium Beer. The Kickstarter money will help furnish the building.

“We want to make it intriguing and something different,” said DeGasero. “We are grass roots. We are three guys who are owners and are working from the bottom up.”

“We have been to several breweries where the brew house was hidden from view. People want to know where their beer is made. Here, you can drink your beer and look behind you and see the beer being made,” said Larson. “We will have 6-10 different beers on tap and one that is a guest cider.”

Behind the bar is a walk-in refrigerator. It will hold all the kegs.

There will be kielbasa served and there will be lunch specials. Food trucks will come from time to time and the food menu will grow.

There will also be 6 LED honeycomb lighting throughout the bar.

Parking will be in the back, but the entrance is in the front of the building. There is room for 160 cars. There may be a patio in the future.

“We aren’t in this for the money. We are in this as an act of love,” said DeGasero. “We went to hundreds of breweries and took the best pieces of each one.”

It will be open Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sundays. Hours will be Thursday and Friday 4-9 p.m., Saturday noon to 9 p.m. and Sunday noon to 5 p.m. It could grow to more days if needed.

There will be a ‘Fellowship of the Hive’ membership which have its own logo and get special treats such as a pig roast.

“We want a sense of fellowship and to interact with each other,” said Larson.

There will also be crowlers instead of growlers. They will be 32 ounce cans that will be poured and will be seamed so it can be stored up to a month.

“It will preserve the freshness of the product and be available on the go,” said DeGasero. “If you are going outdoors, you can bring the beer and recycle it.”

A beer may also be designed for the New Britain Bees to sell at the stadium only.

“They saw the value of having a New Britain beer company serve beer at the stadium,” said Larson. “It’s a no-brainer.”

The trio each began brewing beer at home. They made five gallons at a time when started and now will make thousands of gallons at a time.

Alvarium is Latin for beehive. The logo symbolizes the bees leaving and returning to the hive.

The trio has invested $350,000 plus in their idea and has consistently placed in top 3 in every event they have entered.

They are also ecologically conscience sending leftover grain to local farmers to use for cattle and purchasing a $10,000 water tank that will use a fraction of water other breweries use.

“People are getting away from the macro-breweries like Budweiser and Coors and the big conglomerates and going to local places,” said Larson. “This is the freshest place you can get beer. We want to build a sense of community.”