Following months of mounting challenges, Jen and John Kimmich have decided not to reopen The Alchemist Pub and Brewery.
The 10-year Waterbury landmark was devastated this summer by Tropical Storm Irene, which flooded the basement and filled the dining room with waist-high water. According to an email from Jen Kimmich, "Our basement was the lifeblood of our business — our brewery, our beer, all of our food and our offices were in the basement. Moving forward, we have come to the realization that rebuilding our basement brewery is not a viable option."
Despite months of work with the brewery's insurance company, the couple recently learned that none of the contents of the basement were covered.
Instead, the Kimmiches are focused on rebuilding the 23 Main Street pub, without the brewery. "John and I are determined to rebuild as fast as possible to contribute to the vitality of downtown Waterbury. We are in talks with a few different restaurateurs to take over the space," says Jen Kimmich. "We will find the best fit for Waterbury, someone who can continue to run the pub in a warm, friendly and accessible manner, and provide employment opportunities to our staff."
The seven-barrel brewery that formerly filled the basement downtown will be moved to the recently opened Alchemist Cannery and Tasting Room at 35 Crossroad, also in Waterbury. "Once we have installed the brewery, John will be hard at work to supply the community with his creative and tasty small production beers," says Kimmich. Hopefully, she says, those brews will be served on tap at the pub that takes over for the Alchemist. Look for more information in next Wednesday's Seven Days.
Eva Sollberger visited the former pub four days after Irene and captured footage of volunteers ripping out the bar.