The Portsmouth-based brewing company ceremoniously broke ground Thursday on its new home.

By Kyle Stucker, August 17, 2012

[The following article is courtesy of]

Construction is underway at the new Smuttynose site. The old Towle Farm building, seen here, has been moved to another corner of the property from where it originally stood. [Photo credit Kyle Stucker]

Peter Egelston said Thursday he couldn’t have been happier than to stand in front of more than 100 friends and colleagues and declare to the world that he’s “really in debt.”

That debt is a happy misfortune because it’s the product of the much-awaited groundbreaking for Smuttynose Brewing Co.’s new $16 million headquarters and brewpub in Hampton.

Egelston, the company’s affable owner, said he’s been waiting years to get his dream of a sustainability-focused brewery campus off the ground, which made Thursday’s private groundbreaking ceremony “much more sweet.”

“The road to get here took many twists and turn, and there were roadblocks along the way, but where we’re standing now is where we were meant to be all the way,” he said.

Smuttynose is moving its operations from Portsmouth to a $16 million campus on Towle Farm Road in Hampton. The new location will feature a 42,000-square-foot production facility for onsite brewing and bottling, a 95-seat restaurant, and the ability to grow ingredients on the premises.

The company purchased the land, located off Route 27, in 2008, but pressures on lenders after the economic downfall made financing the construction of the project challenging.

The brewing company received a $500,000 grant earlier this year from the New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority to assist in the expansion. Thanks to that grant and the work of many of the elected officials present Thursday — including state Sen. Nancy Stiles, U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, and many state representatives, local selectmen and department heads — Egelston said he was finally able to “proudly” celebrate the beginning of the construction.

Hampton Public Works Director Keith Noyes said the company will be a “great addition” to the area — not only because he said it will bring jobs and a “great staff” to the Seacoast, but also because it has the potential to kickstart the much-discussed expansion and development of downtown and the west side of Hampton.

“It can make it a nice corridor,” said Noyes. “I think it just enhances the community as a whole.”

Stiles and Rusty Bridle, a Hampton School Board member and former state representative, each said it will also dramatically add to a local tax base craving more industry. Both Stiles and Bridle also said they can see Smuttynose’s move improving the variety and quality of the restaurants and businesses in the area.

“It’s an exciting time for Hampton,” said Stiles, who issued a senate proclamation Thursday night — a proclamation which is attached to this story as a picture. “If we pick up the look of the town… we’ll go forward. I think it’s time to dress it up, and as new businesses open, it’s the perfect time to do that.”

Shaheen agreed, stating the project is a “great example of what we do right in New Hampshire.”

Smuttynose moved the homestead on the 14-acre property roughly 120 feet to accommodate the new facility, which will preserve and incorporate the home and the land’s historic barn — which wasn’t moved — into the overall concept.

The new facility will double Smuttynose’s annual brewing capacity, from 30,000 to 60,000 barrels. The company hopes to complete the construction in mid 2013.

More than 100 people attended a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday for Smuttynose Brewing Co.’s new $16 million facility and restaurant on Towle Farm Road in Hampton. [Photo credit Kyle Stucker]

Smuttynose Brewing Co. co-owner Peter Egelston, left, and U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, pictured Thursday during the groundbreaking ceremony for Smuttynose’s new $16 million facility and restaurant on Towle Farm Road in Hampton. [Photo credit Kyle Stucker]