Home brewer plans South Portland’s 3rd commercial brewery

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SOUTH PORTLAND — A nondescript office building behind the Maine Mall may become home to the city’s third brewery.

The new addition to the burgeoning local industry is Island Dog Brewing at 125 John Roberts Road.

The business, approved unanimously by the Planning Board Tuesday night, is owned by South Portland residents Jim Denz, his wife Jodie, and their friend and fellow brewer, Tim Francis.

Denz, of Berwick Street, is planning to build a brewery in about 4,200 square feet of space in Suite 15 in the one-story office park. It will specialize in “small batches of craft beer,” according to its application, and will include a tasting room and tavern, with capacity for 58 patrons.

Denz and his team still have to obtain the proper licenses for alcohol and food consumption from the state before getting City Council approval, but if all goes well, the plan is to open next April or May.

Denz is seeking a retail food establishment license to brew and sell beer and food for on site consumption, to sell growlers to go. He also seeks a commercial beer processing license to sell wholesale to local restaurants and bars.

The operation will not include a commercial kitchen, but Denz is hoping the business can sell light snacks such as popcorn, and work with food trucks.

Denz, 48, has been brewing his own beer at home since 1994. He works in information technology support and said Wednesday that only last year did he and his wife start seriously considering starting a commercial brewing operation.

“A lot of people have told me, ‘Your beer’s really good,'” Denz said Wednesday. When he and his wife would go to other local breweries, his wife, Jodie, would say, “‘Why can’t you do this?'”

The large office park where the brewery will be established houses nearly 20 other businesses, including Otto pizza.

Both of the city’s other breweries – Foulmouthed Brewing in Knightville and Fore River Brewing near Cash Corner, are on the other side of Interstate 295, leaving much of the Maine Mall area as unclaimed territory, Denz said.

The plan is to install a small, three-barrel system that brews about 100 gallons at a time. The size of the operation will similar to the size of Bunker Brewing when it first opened its doors in Portland’s East Bayside neighborhood, Denz said.

Four beers will be offered initially – an India pale ale, a brown ale, a saison and a stout. Eventually, Denz said, “I’d like to have eight total in the tap room.”

Alex Acquisto can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or aacquisto@theforecaster.net. Follow Alex on Twitter: @AcquistoA.

Island Dog Brewing, at 125 John Roberts Road, South Portland, will be the city’s third commercial brewery

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South Portland and Scarborough reporter for The Forecaster. Graduate of Western Kentucky University and the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies. Alex can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106.