After experiencing two floods in four years, the owners of Nepenthe Homebrew are changing locations and expanding.
Husband and wife owners Brian Arnold and Jill Antos announced today that their company, Nepenthe Homebrew, will be relocating from Meadow Mill in Woodberry to 3622-24 Falls Road in Hampden in the spring of 2018.
They’re also planning to add a brewery and taproom to their retail and brew-on-premises concept. The name of the expanded operation will be Nepenthe Brewing Co.
The announcement came after Baltimore’s liquor board voted 3-to-0 to approve a restaurant license for the Falls Road location, previously home to David’s 1st and 10 Sports Bar and Caribbean Products. The applicants also plan to apply to the state for a Class 7 Micro-Brewery License.
Arnold told liquor board members that he and Antos will be teaming up with Brendan Kirlin, former partner at Le Garage, to bring the business to Hampden.
According to Arnold, the expanded operation will provide a mix of modern and experimental beer styles – with food to match – while continuing to sell equipment and ingredients for homebrewers. The taproom will employ pub-style service rather than traditional table service, creating a casual setting with a mix of communal and bar seating.
The 11,000 square-foot building on Falls Road will include a 3,000-square-foot taproom and a 10-barrel brew house with 80 barrels of cellar capacity. The building also includes an indoor/outdoor “flex-space” in the rear that will be used for additional seating and events during the warmer months.
The applicants did not ask to provide live entertainment or outdoor table service.
The designer is Schamu Machowski + Patterson Architects, with construction by J. C. Porter Construction.
To qualify for a new restaurant license in Baltimore, applicants have to make a capital investment of at least $200,000 and provide seating for at least 75 patrons. Caroline Hecker, the attorney for Nepenthe, said the business plans to make a capital investment of $2.1 million, including $500,000 for equipment, and the restaurant will have 124 seats plus 18 bar seats.
Hecker told the liquor board that Nepenthe’s planned move was prompted in part by their desire to get out of a flood plain. The business has had to close for prolonged periods to clean up after two heavy storms.
“Meadow Mill tends to flood, so they are looking for new space on higher ground,” she told the board.
The new location also provides an opportunity to expand, the business owners say.
“We’re thrilled to be a part of Baltimore’s vibrant brewing scene. This community has shown us so much support,” Antos said in a statement. “We’re looking forward to creating a new neighborhood place where people can grab a beer flight with something to eat and hang out, learn to brew, shop for their homebrew supplies, or all of the above. We love making beer and we’re so excited to share our passion.”
“Having a homebrew shop under the same roof as the brewery gives us a tremendous amount of flexibility,” Arnold added. “We will be the kind of place where the tap list changes regularly, and where people can also learn about the ingredients and processes that go into making good beer.”
The food component “will allow us to enhance the experience with pairings and culinary twists,” Kirlin said.
Nepenthe opened its homebrew shop in February of 2013 and was named after a drug described in Homer’s Odyssey as banishing grief or trouble from a person’s mind. It offers equipment and ingredients for home producers of beer, wine, cider and other fermented beverages, and also serves as a brewing education center where customers can brew in-store and learn the beer-making process.
The owners say Nepenthe Homebrew will continue to operate at its current location at 3600 Clipper Mill Road during construction and will move to Falls Road when the work is complete.
The anticipated taproom hours for the new space will be Monday to Thursday from 4 p.m. to midnight, Fridays from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m., Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sam Himmelrich of Himmelrich Associates, the developer of Meadow Mill, said he is aware of the project, since the Falls Road building was listed for the liquor board hearing.
If they have other plans, he said, “I wish them all the best.”