Exciting news! At last night’s Bethel Board of Selectman meeting it was announced that a proposal from a brewery company was selected to lease the Old Bethel Train Station, located between Front Street and Depot Place, and the decision was approved by the board.
Report by Paula Antolini
April 20, 2016 6:59AM EDT
Photo above: (Left to right) Michael Boyle, Bethel Economic Development Committee Chairman and member of the “New” Old Train Station Committee, and proposed brewery owners Christopher Sanzini, Paul Mannion and Lisa Tassone.
EXCLUSIVE / BETHEL ADVOCATE
HOT TOPIC: Brewery Company Chosen to Lease the Old Bethel Train Station
Exciting news! At last night’s Bethel Board of Selectman (BOS) meeting it was announced that a proposal from a brewery company was selected to lease the Old Bethel Train Station, located between Front Street and Depot Place, and the recommendation from the “New” Old Train Station Committee was approved by the BOS. The name of the company selected is “Broken Symmetry Gastro Brewery.” The next step of the process is a public meeting where residents will be able to make comments.
There is about a 6-12 month process to get approvals and permits and renovations done. The owners said it is a longer process and involves a lot of “red tape” because beer is a controlled substance and involves approvals from the federal government. The brewery-restaurant plans on serving home-brewed beer made on the premises, along with a selection of food to compliment the beer.
Photo above: Current photo of the Old Bethel Train Station.
Photo above: Old photo of he Old Bethel Train Station.
The brewery has three partners: Lisa Tassone, 43, Paul Mannion, 35, and Christopher Sanzini, 42.
Tassone is the owner of Bethel’s “La Zingara,” an intimate farm-to-table Italian restaurant, serving food that takes inspiration from northern Italy. They also cater. Tassone also owns the Rooftop “ECCO” Eatery and Bar, described as a “casual bistro” upstairs. Both establishments are located at 8 P. T. Barnum Square in Bethel, Ct. since 2002. Both restaurants use fresh produce cultivated from part of a 126-acre farm. Tassone obviously has extensive knowledge in food and restaurant service. She described the new brewery as having “European beer.”
Paul Mannion is the owner of the well-known popular local business, “The Green Grunion,” a roaming food truck, and he has also worked at La Zingara, he said. “The Green Grunion” is “primarily a San Diego style Burrito truck that provides the fine people of the greater Danbury area, and beyond, a TRUE burrito done the San Diego way … right! As well as some late night goodness.” They serve a selection of burritos that contain a combination of meats, veggies, beans and other ingredients, with names like The Cali, Carnitas, Chorizo, Pollo, Veggie, Black Bean, and Pinto Bean. He said they plan on serving similar food at the brewery.
Mannion comes from three generations of Bethel families. His father, Jim Mannion, was a state representative in the 70’s and the first Democrat to represent Brookfield/Bethel, Mannion said. He also had law offices on Greenwood Avenue and Grand Street.
Christopher Sanzini is the third brewery partner, from Danbury and Brookfield. He has a physics background and loves food and cooking. He is a self-taught in making home-brewed beer and lovingly said, “In 1996 I got into ‘real’ beer, the disease.” Sanzini said the new brewery would be cafe-style. He spoke about the history of breweries in the area and said they were pleased to be part of it now. He said breweries are one of the largest growing industries. Their brewery will be “somewhere in between a nanno-and-micro-sized brewery,” Sanzini said. He added, “Beer is one of the oldest fermented beverages on the planet.”
The partners were very excited and pleased to have been chosen to lease the Old Bethel Train Station. Mannion said, “We are excited for everyone involved in the area, not just for us.”
Sanzini said, “There is so much history in beer. In the 1700’s colonies, beer pubs were the social network during the Revolutionary War. It is just as it was years ago.”
All three partners then agreed, the new brewery will be the “real-time social media.”
Photo above: Bethel Board of Selectman meeting on April 19, 2016, where announcement was made about the brewery.
Mike Boyle, Chairman of the Bethel Economic Development Committee, and also a member of the “New” Old Train Station Committee, said the decision of whom to select was unanimous. When Mr. Boyle made the announcement at the BOS meeting he said, “The Old Train Station Committee has received seven proposals, of which, we narrowed it down to four to invite presentations, and after much and careful consideration, of which Richie was also on the committee (motioned to Selectman Straiton) we recommend Symmetry Micro Brewery as the business we look to have approved by the Board of Selectmen for us to see if we can come back to you with a lease for the reasons both financial, and with our Bethel Forward plan, that was the business that made the most sense for a lease, to take it to the next step, to have the opportunity to secure a lease with this business.” He added, “Right now we have a ten year lease with an option.”
Photo above: Bethel Board of Selectman meeting on April 19, 2016, where announcement was made about the brewery. Left to right: Selectman Paul Szatkowski, First Selectman Matthew Knickerbocker, Selectman Richard Straiton.
The names of the original seven companies submitting proposals were: Second Chance Bible Church, O’Neil’s, Danny’s Cycles, Broken Symmetry Gastro Brewery, Redding Roasters Coffee Company, Kidlab, Stationery Arts.
“New” Old Train Station Committee members were: Bethel Director of Economic Development Janice Chrzescijanek, Bethel Economic Development Committee Chairman Mike Boyle, Bethel Comptroller Robert Kozlowski, Bethel Selectman Richard Straiton, and Bethel Land Use Coordinator and Assistant Zoning Official Beth Cavagna.
Above: Floor plan of Old Bethel Train Station.
Above: Interior view of the Old Bethel Train Station (click on photos to view larger.)
Previous business “Bethel Cycle” that occupied the Old Bethel Train Station.
EVALUATION OF PROPOSALS