- Courtesy Of Lawson's Finest Liquids
- Lawson's Finest Liquids' new brewery
There's a new stop on Vermont's IPA Highway. Two years after they began planning a custom-built facility in Waitsfield, Lawson's Finest Liquids co-owners Sean and Karen Lawson quietly opened their new brewery, taproom and retail space at 155 Carroll Road on Monday. "We've been keeping a very tight wrap on things," Sean Lawson told Seven Days on opening day. "It's been our plan all along to not announce the [opening] date until the date arrived."
In the expansive timber-frame taproom, deck and beer garden, visitors can pair pours of 12 beers on draft with cheese-and-meat tasting boards. But guests seeking a full sit-down meal should look elsewhere, Lawson said: "We are not running a restaurant; we really wanted to drive business to local restaurants, not compete with them."
Current drafts include IPAs such as Sip of Sunshine and Double Sunshine, along with Hopzilla and Sugarhouse IPA, which was the first beer Lawson ever sold. Less hoppy offerings include Fayston Maple Imperial Stout, Knockout Blonde ale, a pilsner and a saison. All of these beers, along with limited-run specialty bottles and cans, can be bought in the brewery's retail space.
Since all of the company's 40 employees receive professional salaries with full benefits, the brewery is a no-tip facility, Lawson said. In lieu of tips, he added, guests can stuff dollars in "tip jars" for donation to local nonprofits; this month's donations will go to the Mad River Valley Food Shelf.
At full capacity, the brewery's 34-barrel brewhouse can turn out 15,000 barrels of beer per year, but Lawson said he plans to start slow and sell most of the Waitsfield-made beer on-site until he gets a bead on local demand. Additional distribution to local restaurants and retail outlets will come later.
The brewer will continue to test recipes and make small-batch specialty brews at his home sugarhouse in Warren, and Lawson's will keep working with Two Roads Brewing in Connecticut, which produces Sip of Sunshine and Super Session for distribution throughout New England and New York.
The brewery is open daily from noon to 7 p.m.