There’s more than just beer brewing at Flying Dog, which announced plans Tuesday to open a 150,000-square-foot brewery in the city of Frederick.

The brewery made a $2.55 million offer Monday to buy 31 acres of vacant farmland off Bowmans Farm Road east of Frederick Municipal Airport, according to Erin Weston, communications director for the brewery. The site would serve as the location of a $50 million project to construct a larger, state-of-the-art brewery, that would either replace or expand on the manufacturing at its company’s Wedgewood Boulevard property.

The project will create 150 new jobs and eventually produce up to 700,000 barrels of beer per year, according to a statement released Tuesday. Flying Dog’s current brewery has a capacity of 100,000 barrels.

Richard Griffin, the city’s economic development director, described the offer as a great opportunity for the city.

“Flying Dog is a terrific company,” he said. “We’ll do everything in our power to help them out, to try and get this to work.”

The offer comes after several months of research into possible locations for the new brewery in and around the Greater D.C. area, Weston said. Flying Dog CEO Jim Caruso was quoted in a company statement as saying the site’s location in the city of Frederick was what he liked most about the property.

Weston agreed.

“It’s a community that’s embraced us from day one,” she said.

The brewery has already begun exclusive negotiations for the sale of the city-owned property, Weston said, with initial approvals expected by September. The contract requires approval from the mayor and Board of Aldermen under city policies for sale of city-owned land.

Griffin said Flying Dog was the first buyer to make an offer on the property, although others have expressed interest since the city began marketing the site through MacRO Commercial Real Estate last fall. The $2.55 million offer represents the full asking price listed for the property, a figure largely determined by its appraised value, Griffin said.

As of July 1, the 1715 Bowmans Farm Road property was valued at $2.6 million, according to records with the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation. The city bought the property in 2008 for $5.4 million.

City officials expect to discuss the offer in a workshop on Sept. 2. A vote is slated for Sept. 17, after a public hearing.

A vote to approve the contract would launch a 120-day study period, allowing Flying Dog to determine the feasibility of the project before the sale is final, according to Griffin.

Griffin described the study period as a standard component of any large contract of sale. If the company decides against the project after that study, it can walk away from the contract without any negative repercussions, although it must pay a deposit on the offer at the start of the study period when the contract is executed.

The offer comes on the heels of a new city tax credit program, which gives city manufacturers a credit on some or all of the property taxes on new or expanded businesses. Flying Dog’s project, as proposed, would qualify for a 100 percent property tax credit for up to 10 years under the sliding scale approved by city officials last week.

Griffin said the company had not indicated whether it would apply for the credit because it was too early in the negotiations for that level of detail.

When, and if, the contract of sale becomes final, Griffin said he assumed they would apply.

Design and development on the new brewery could begin in 2016, with beer production by mid-2018, according to the released statement.

Follow Nancy Lavin on Twitter: @Nancy_Lavin228.

Nancy Lavin covers social services, demographics and religion for The Frederick News-Post.

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(12) comments

Emandike

This is what needs to be built around the airport, not homes.

Emandike

This is what needs to be build around the airport, not homes.

joelp77440

Flying Dog makes some of the best beers and the worst known to man. I like craft beers and I drink FD regularly but one "experiment" was so bad I ended up throwing up. Let's just keep the name of the beer nameless for taste can be subjective.

MCEDDE21

With a little research, I've found:

The City bought the property in 2008 for $5.4 Million, at the lows of the Great Recession and now, after 6 (or so) years of recovery, they're selling it at a loss of $2.8 Million--more than 50%. Plus, they're going to give the new owners a 100% tax credit on the property for ten years.

Williams Grove Farm LLC bought the property at the "top" in 2003, for $1.7 Million. Then, it sold the property to the City for $5.4 Million at the "bottom" in 2008. In effect, the City lost $3.7 Million, at least.

The City is now selling to Flying Dog for $2.6 Million--another loss--amounting to $2.8 Million. In all, the City has lost some $6.5 Million on this 31-acre property in seven years. I want to know who, in City government, made these deals. Robert Griffin (Director of Economic Development): Any inside information?

tgrace

very good question, I was wondering the same thing. This smells fishy.

"Williams Grove Farm LLC bought the property at the "top" in 2003, for $1.7 Million. Then, it sold the property to the City for $5.4 Million at the "bottom" in 2008."

would like to get the city's take on this transaction.

armillary

Thanks for the info. Early 2008 was the "top" of the real estate bubble, just months before it burst. Williams Grove Farm LLC couldn't have done any better in their timing, and the city couldn't have done any worse. But vision is always 20-20 in hindsight.

tgrace

not sure 2008 was the top, i thought that was the bottom, in fact i know it was for the "Great Recession" but regardless, this simply does not pass the "common sense" text. What property appreciates over 300% in five years and then depreciates over 50% in the next 7 ?

and i wonder why the city felt this would be such a great addition to their real estate holdings ?

I personally think it is just another example of public employees and their use of "play money" otherwise know as tax revenue.

mr_twist27

Wow, 10 yrs and no taxes. I think that's a little overboard. I can understand a few years, but not a whole decade

MCEDDE21

The City bought the property in 2008 for $5.4 Million, at the lows of the Great Recession and now, after 6 (or so) years of recovery, they're selling it at a loss of over 50%? Plus, they're going to give the new owners a 100% tax credit on the property for ten years?

We know who's getting in at the bottom but I'd like to know who got out at the top and, who, in City government made the deals at both ends... for starters. Robert Griffin: Any ideas?

armillary

No, don't do it, there's a limited market for $10 a six-pack beer! Stay small and be happy! Don't implode!

armillary

If you can make better $5 a six-pack beer than Yeungling, I'm rooting for you! Otherwise you're going to implode!

mikec

I'm rooting for them, but it does sound risky.

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