Chris Tripler is on track to open Great Falls Brewery in North Canaan’s newly restored Union Station — he hopes by December.
NORTH CANAAN — You could sense the anticipation in Chris Tripler as he stood amid the renovations progressing at the historic Canaan Union Station railroad depot. He’s getting ready to launch a new business venture, Great Falls Brewing Company, as an integral part of the rebirth of the Depot, which was severely damaged by arson in 2001.
“We are going through the permitting stages right now for the brewery and the pub, and when those are complete andif the Depot work goes according to plan we can have a soft opening in December and a full opening in January of next year,” said Tripler, who lives in Beverly, Mass., but is searching for a home with his family in the Northwest Corner.
Tripler, 49, a member of the teaching staff at Endicott College, began home brewing in 1993 and has been doing it “on and off” for 24 years. He views launching Great Falls Brewing Company as turning a page in his life (with a nod to the past: The business is named after the Great Falls in Falls Village, where he and his wife, Margaret Banker, were married).
His vision for the brewery encompasses much more than just making great beer.
“We all need a place to go, a meeting place where people can come together and get away from the worries and pressure of everyday life and have fun and good conversation.”
Tripler lived in Falls Village from late 2002 to the summer of 2005. He’s been mostly a Connecticut resident, with stops in southern California, Idaho, Kentucky and nearby Millbrook. He teaches in The Hotchkiss School’s summer-long Portals program, working with second- and third-year students on advanced field biology techniques.
Tripler is the managing member of theownership group of the brewery; there are several other partners. Their plan is to brew beer in large vats at the Depot and sell it to customers in a café-like setting.
“We plan on initially having between eight and 10 types, including New England IPAs, stouts, porters and light lagers, on tap and we hope to add to that with seasonal brews.
“We also plan on having some themed merchandise and on partnering with vendors to bring in foods that customers can enjoy while they sip their beer. We hope to sell 32-ounce sealed cans for take-home and would like to get some of our product into other retail outlets.”
There will be other beverage options for visitors who don’t drink beer. Tripler believes that many of his customers will be people who have come to the Depot to see the railroad museum or who are in North Canaan for town-wide events such as the annual Railroad Days summer celebration.
“We’ve received lots of encouragement from other businesses, the townspeople and local officials. We want to be a part of the community and reach out to the area, not just be people doing business here.
“We’re very excited to be opening in the Depot and we hope to be a place where entire families can come and enjoy time together and with others in a beautiful and historic setting.”
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