BERLIN — More than two years in the making, Burley Oak Brewery Company, Worcester County’s first microbrewery, is finally preparing to open its doors next month.
“The process isn’t over,” admitted Burley Oak Brewery Company owner Bryan Brushmiller, who has set Aug. 12 as the tentative opening day for the brewery, although the date is subject to change.
Brushmiller explained that there are still a few details that need to be hammered out but that things are going smoothly overall.
He passed the last major hurtle Wednesday when the Worcester County Board of License Commissioners (BLC) awarded Brushmiller a modified Class “D” Beer license.
The license will be unique to Burley, as the Berlin-based microbrewery is the first of its kind in the county.
Changes had to be made at the state level to even allow Burley to fit into the town of Berlin’s zoning. Months of policy alterations, license seeking, and physical construction later, most of the i’s have been dotted and a majority of the t’s crossed.
“The town of Berlin is very excited about this,” said BLC President William Esham.
Esham and the rest of the board unanimously approved the license petition, granting Brushmiller’s request, including a four-piece, acoustic band three nights a week to play in the brewery’s retail area.
Mayor Gee Williams echoed Esham’s encouragement.
“The opening of Burley Oak Brewery will be a wonderful new addition to the Berlin business community,” he said.
Williams added that he was excited to see Brushmiller’s efforts finally “come to fruition” after years of work and planning. Though the lengthy process had a number of big benchmarks to overcome, Williams said that everyone involved did the best they could to keep the ball rolling.
“The town of Berlin has had nothing but cooperation throughout,” he stated.
With Worcester’s first and only microbrewery in town limits, Williams expected Burley to become “one more reason to put Berlin on the map.”
The week after the brewery’s official opening, Gov. Martin O’Malley is expected in the area, and Williams hopes to take him on a tour of Burley.
While not all communities would have gone through the lengths it took to help establish a microbrewery in town, Williams was quick to assert that Berlin likes to “embrace the future, instead of fight it.”