- From left: Jesse Cronin, Libby Bonesteel, Dena Wimette and Jay Wimette of Jericho Ale & Bean
The general store in Jericho Village, known locally as Mel's, has long been a community hub. Now it has new owners, who are brewing up something fresh in the store at 51 Route 15. Two Jericho-based businesses, Lucy & Howe Brewing and Brew House Coffee, teamed up to open Jericho Ale & Bean on January 14.
The front half is now open for retail sales of Brew House's bottled cold-brew and four-packs of Lucy & Howe beer on Friday and Saturday. Coffee is available 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on both days, with beer sales 2 to 6 p.m. on Friday and 1 to 6 p.m. on Saturday.
After a bit more renovation, the full store will open with on-site coffee service and beer tasting flights. Eventually, said Jesse Cronin of Lucy & Howe, the goal is to offer a taproom experience, with full pints and meat and cheese boards.
Jay and Dena Wimette launched Brew House in 2019, selling cold-brew coffee at local farmers markets and shops and through a CSA-style subscription. They're good friends with Cronin and his wife, Libby Bonesteel.
The two couples had been "kicking around the idea of doing a joint venture" when they noticed the "For sale" sign on the general store, Cronin said.
Cronin started his 1.5-barrel nanobrewery at his home on Mill Street — a 10th of a mile from the store — in May 2020. "Expanding has constantly been in the back-brain," he said. "It was important to all of us to stay close to our community, and we had enough late-night dinner-table conversations that it seemed to make sense."
Cronin noted that the store has "been serving the community in one way or another ... for, like, the last 120 years. We're working to maintain the general-store character while making it a very comfortable place to come in and have a beer or a cup of coffee."
When asked whether the two businesses will team up for a collaborative brew, Cronin laughed and said, "I don't think we can avoid it."
Correction, January 20, 2022: An earlier version of this story misstated the number of years the general store has been in existence. It has operated in some capacity since the early 1900s.