Beer and Baseball: Brewer Eyes Hartford Move

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBCConnecticut.com

    The Hooker Brewing Company is once again considering a move to Hartford.

    The Bloomfield company will submit a proposal to build a 50,000-square-foot brewery and restaurant across from the proposed $60-million Rock Cats stadium, according to company president Curt Cameron.

    "Our goal is to build not only a production facility but kind of a German-style beer garden which is a restaurant, a visitors' center," Cameron said.

    The building would go up on North Main Street on the site of the former Butt Ugly Building, which was torn down after the corruption scandal involving the city's former mayor. It would also sit just across from the stadium and create 50-80 new jobs, Cameron explained.

    The cost: $5 million for new equipment, plus millions more for the land and other expenses.

    "We've been talking to banks and we've been talking to equity investors, we've been talking to the state and all these different people and sources of funding so I feel we're pretty far along in that process," said Cameron.

    He said the company has tried to move to Hartford in the past, but was unable to find a suitable location. They've also been considering a move to Windsor.

    Hartford is also seeking other development proposals for the proposed stadium area and city council still has to sign off on the stadium deal, which is expected.

    In Hartford, residents have been critical of the stadium project.

    Business owner Lenworth Williams says the stadium and the brewery would be a win-win for the city.

    "I think it's a good idea. It brings a lot of business back to downtown Hartford and the businesses that are already here gives them an opportunity for growth," said Williams.

    If the move to Hartford becomes a reality, Hooker hopes to sell its Bloomfield facility to another local brewer, Cameron said.

    Development proposals for the stadium area are due to the city of Hartford on Aug. 1.