New Café Granted Beer, Wine License; Brewery Expansion OK’d

SNOW HILL – County officials approved a number of changes for Burley Oak Brewery this week.

On Wednesday, the Worcester County Board of License Commissioners (BLC) approved an expansion of Burley Oak Brewery and agreed to grant a beer and wine license to its new café on Jefferson Street in Berlin.

Burley Oak’s Bryan Brushmiller told the board he was working on expanding the brewery, which was established six years ago, simply to meet the needs of his customers.

“We are asking for this because we’ve seen visitors increase exponentially,” he said. “We’re currently having people walk in and walk out because we don’t have space to serve.”

He told the board he wanted to expand the existing 900 square foot beer garden to 3,000 square feet and begin serving drinks in the building adjacent to the existing brewery, a 900-square-foot space being called the Cannery Taproom.

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Brushmiller told the board he also wanted to increase the brewery’s outdoor entertainment. He said he wanted to be able to have six-piece live entertainment outside until 11 p.m. Though the brewery currently is allowed four-piece entertainment, Brushmiller said that wouldn’t accommodate the popular bluegrass bands.

“That genre of music is more people playing stringed instruments,” he said.

Brushmiller assured the board the stage in the beer garden would be built in such a way that noise would be pointed away from nearby residential areas.

“We’re very concerned about us being responsible with the music,” he said.

Though Brushmiller also sought approval for live entertainment and a disc jockey in the taproom, BLC members expressed concern with the idea of a disc jockey. When Brushmiller explained it was being sought so that hosts of fundraising events at the brewery could speak, board members told him to seek special event approval prior to those events.

The board agreed to approve the expansion and the request for live music inside the taproom as well as outdoor six-piece entertainment until 10 p.m.

“If they start getting complaints, we’re going to know about it sooner than later,” BLC Chairman William Esham said.

Esham recused himself from discussion regarding the café, to be known as The Brewer’s Café, as one of the owners of the adjacent Atlantic Hotel. Nicole Brushmiller told the board the café would be serving “fortified” breakfast and lunch items made by the Brooklyn Baking Barons and wanted to be able to serve beer and wine as well.

“We are going to have some exciting small plate foods and it just makes sense to serve beer and wine,” she said.

She said she was seeking permission to have live music at the café, primarily to drown out the sound of the fans from the neighboring glassblowing shop.

“We’re family oriented people,” she said. “I do not want to disturb the peace of our neighbors.”

Board members were quick to express concern regarding her request for a disc jockey and told her one could be approved on a case-by-case basis for special events.

“It’s a phone call,” board member Charles Nichols said.

Nichols also questioned her request for off-sale privileges. He pointed out the hotel already offered that. BLC member Marty Pusey agreed.

“It seems like that need is met,” she said.

The board agreed to grant the café’s beer and wine license and to allow indoor entertainment until 10 p.m. and outdoor entertainment until 9 p.m.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.