This column was written by Brian Crandall, who runs “Ithacating in Cornell Heights.”
Ithaca’s a hopping place to live, and it’s about to get a little hoppier.
According to Ithaca town planning board documents published last week, the Ithaca Beer Co. will be launching a major expansion to its restaurant and Brewery, located just south of the city line off of Route 13.
The 23,800 square-foot expansion, which will primarily be used for expanded production and storage of Ithaca Beer’s lines of soft drinks and adult beverages, will more than double the size of the current 16,000 square-foot restaurant and brewery.
In a letter to the planning board, Ithaca Beer cites “tremendous growth” over the past several years, and a need to keep up with current customer needs and poise itself for future market expansion. Along with the new facility, plans call for new loading docks, a new 33-space parking lot for employees, a materials storage area, stormwater facilities and new outdoor lighting. About 1.56 acres of the 10-acre site will be disturbed for construction. The expansion itself will not be too visible from Route 13, as it connects to the north side of the current building and is being built on the backside of the property, away from the main roads. The design, a 1-story+mezzanine, 38’ tall building by local firm HOLT Architects, blends in with the current Ithaca Beer facility on site. A slight increase to truck traffic is anticipated, as well as increased utilities use. The site is zoned as a Planned Development Zone (PDZ), which gives significant flexibility for site development. Construction of the expansion is anticipated to take place over 8 months, although a starting date is not given in the planning board documents.
Employees at the brewery are all-too-familiar with the noise and dust of construction, as the current restaurant and production space was only completed in 2012.
Since its founding in 1998, Ithaca Beer has made a name for itself as a craft brewer, earning a number of industry awards, and capitalizing on the regional and national trend towards craft beers and microbrews.