By: Mary Markos, Staff Writer, The Salem News

This article originally appeared in The Salem News.

Apr 22, 2018

PEABODY – Revitalization could be chugging along in the form of craft beers now that a number of breweries are perusing the city.

The first was Granite Coast Brewing Co, which expects to open this summer.

The second, Essex County Brewery, has already signed a lease at 58-Rear Pulaski St., according to Community Development Director Curt Bellavance. And two other breweries are considering coming to the city, Bellavance said, but wouldn’t name any names.

“They’re not ready to go public yet,” he said.

Essex County Brewery is working to put plans together, and will submit an application for a special permit from the City Council. The flood gates opened after Granite Coast Brewing Co. announced plans to establish Peabody’s first craft brewery.

Lifelong friends Jeff Marquis and Rob Dunn, owners of Granite Coast Brewing Co., leased a space at 77B Main St. The brewery is now under construction. The City Council granted the necessary special permit on April 5, and the two are hoping to open by late August.

The number of breweries expressing interest, and committing, in locating in the city could be validation for the revitalization efforts in the downtown over recent years. It also comes after the city acquired 20 additional liquor licenses from the state.

“It’s a huge economic development,” Bellavance said. “A, they bring jobs. B, they bring people, they bring families.”

While some don’t think of breweries as family oriented, Bellavance said “most of them are.” He also pointed to the contributions such businesses make in giving back to the communities they call home.

“This wave of development is a huge plus for any community,” he said. “Now that we’ve seen at least four different breweries interested in coming to Peabody, I think it’s good sign for what’s happening in Peabody.”

The elaborate process to open a brewery involves signing a lease, filing with the federal government, receiving licenses through the state as well as a pouring license from the city and a special permit from the City Council. If the brewery wanted to serve other beers, wine or liquor, they would need a full liquor license.

“The first step you have to do as a brewery is you have to get an address,” Bellavance said.

Though Bellavance kept details to a minimum, he confirmed that the two other unnamed breweries were considering locations on Railroad Avenue and the Washington Street area. The breweries would offer an array of beers, he said, adding that Essex County may focus on New England IPAs as well as seasonal brews.

“There’s dozens of different varieties,” Bellavance said.

An enthusiast himself, Bellavance said his knowledge of the industry has been helpful in encouraging the companies to come to the city.

“I think we’re a pretty large city, it’s really a matter of time and I’m pretty enthusiastic about the craft beer industry,” he said. “They were interested in Peabody, of course we talked about the benefits of being in the city of Peabody and what a great city it is.”

Mary Markos may be contacted at 978-338-2660 or