North Stonington — Trillium Brewing Co. announced Monday its purchase of a farm in North Stonington, marking a major development in a yearslong effort to expand its popular beer empire into the area.
Fated Farmer LLC purchased the parcels of land known as 66, 68 and 96 East Clarks Falls Road on Aug. 16 for $2,093,497, according to town records. The total tract is 162 acres: about 125 in North Stonington and 37 in Hopkinton, R.I.
"We always dreamt of building our future and a New England farmhouse brewery not far from the venue where we were married in a pastoral region of CT," Trillium owners JC and Esther Tetreault wrote in a website post, referencing their wedding at Saltwater Farm Vineyard in Stonington.
Trillium opened in March 2013 with a flagship location in the Fort Point neighborhood of Boston. In December 2015, Trillium opened a larger production facility and taproom in Canton, Mass., and is working on opening a restaurant in the fall.
The Tetreaults said their intent with the North Stonington location, to be called Trillium Farm & Brewery, is to "brew estate-grown beers, establish an agriculture program to feed our restaurant and breweries, and create a destination for you to share experiences with us, family, and friends."
According to an Instagram post from Trillium, locations were closed on Monday as staff visited North Stonington for the "annual team adventure." Aaren Simoncini, owner of Beer'd Brewing Co., tweeted that he was excited to have Trillium as a neighbor.
Nabbing Trillium is a big deal for North Stonington.
Trillium has an "outstanding" rating on BeerAdvocate. Out of 22,500 brewers, RateBeer listed Trillium as the third-best brewer in the world for 2016. Draft Magazine named its Double Dry-Hopped Congress Street beer one of the 50 best IPAs in America.
The Tetreaults were 2018 semifinalists in the Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional category for the prestigious James Beard Award.
Trillium has become a destination for beer geeks, with people willing to wait in long lines.
"We've been working quite a while to try to find them a spot," said Juliet Hodge, the planning, zoning and development official for North Stonington.
Indeed, JC Tetreault came before the Planning and Zoning Commission in November 2016 to inquire about North Stonington's farmhouse brewery regulations.
Hodge told The Day there were a lot of farm parcels that suddenly were under contract, citing solar farms. She said the property the Tetreaults bought is a "beautiful farm" but that the location is "a little problematic" because it's not off a primary road and is in between two large farms.
Hodge said that farm breweries and event barns are allowed but Trillium will have to work with the town on zoning if it wants to allow a restaurant or overnight stays.
"This is a fantastic opportunity," she said. "We're always looking to improve the quality of life, to attract new, younger visitors here."