A Pennsylvania-based brewery that secured $1 million in tax credits to move to Atlantic City is hoping to hold a grand opening in the city in the spring, DeWalt Brewing Company’s owner Chris DeWalt said. “Hopefully, early Spring,” he added.
The brewery is not far from finalizing arrangements and starting work on its Atlantic City site. The project, announced in March and originally targeting a summer opening, has been held up by mostly minor but time-consuming glitches, said DeWalt.
DeWalt Brewing Co leased space next door to the Little Water Distillery on the block between Baltic and Lexington and Delaware and Maryland Avenues. There has been a lot of public interest in the project since it was announced earlier this year. “We’re getting all kinds of calls and feedback, people are really excited,” he said. “We’re all excited! It’s been a long process for myself too.”
DeWalt said he is hoping to do a soft opening as soon as December, to invite people inside for samples and to see the progress. “The moment we get the go ahead to start working there, we’ll start outfitting the building,” he said. There is some plumbing that needs to be done, equipment to install and some aesthetic changes to make, but the building will not need major work. DeWalt said the parking lot outside the brewery will be paved before the grand opening.
The project has been delayed by a number of small issues including administration and personnel changes within the city and the Atlantic County Improvement Authority and a flood insurance glitch, DeWalt said, declining to give details before everything is finalized. “The bureaucracy of it all – that’s the tough part.” He said he is hoping to share what he has learned about the tax credit application process so that others can benefit from it.
DeWalt said there are many people who deserve credit for the project but he especially wanted to thank Mayor Don Guardian, former planning director Elizabeth Terenik (“I really wish she was still in the city”) and his landlord, Sheldon Grace (“He is definitely on Atlantic City’s side.”)
The brewing company owner said that he is spending more time in Atlantic City now (he grew up in Pennsylvania) and is excited about the city’s prospects. When you’re not from the city, you are better able to see the city’s potential, he said. “The regular people – we see a good time on the beach, a nice time in the casinos… So that’s what I see. I see a city full of potential.”
“Are there problems in Atlantic City? Do the numbers back that up? Yes they do,” he said, but he added, “The people there, the atmosphere, there’s a lot of potential. I don’t know how much I can do as an individual, how much impact I can make, but whatever that impact is I have every intention of making it.”