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Former Medina brewery to move to Wheatfield

Barge Brewing Co., which formerly operated a microbrewery and restaurant in Medina, has signed a contract to buy a longtime diner in Wheatfield as a new location for its business.

Barge Brewing presented a sketch plan Wednesday for acquiring the Meeting Place, 2469 Niagara Road in the hamlet of Bergholz, and the adjacent former Bergholz Fire Co. hall, said Walter D. Garrow, chairman of the town Planning Board.

"This location is closer to our target audience," Jeremy Hogan, founder of Barge Brewing, said Friday.

The purchase contract with Justjam Inc. is contingent on Barge Brewing winning all of the approvals it needs from the town.

Hogan wouldn't disclose the price, but he said he expects to invest a total of about $500,000 in the acquisition and renovation.

The site would be operated as a restaurant, and a microbrewery would be installed in the adjacent building. A beer tasting room would be placed on the second floor of the old fire hall, Garrow said.

The site is zoned commercial, but the buildings would need significant code compliance upgrades, Garrow said.

A public information session will be held once Barge returns with more detailed plans.

Hogan said he hopes to be able to close on the real estate deal by September and open the rebranded restaurant 30 to 45 days after that. The brewery would take another four to six months to open, he said.

Hogan signed a five-year lease on a building on Main Street in Medina, but closed the brewery and restaurant there two years ago. The building had water problems and other issues, he said.

Since then, he's been looking for a spot to get back into the beer business, but not on a large scale.

"We can do a certain amount of brewing for consumption on-site," Hogan said.

Customers would be able to fill growlers, but there would not be any canning or bottling of the beers.

The equivalent of at least 20 full-time jobs would be created in the restaurant, and another five full-time equivalents would work in the brewery, Hogan said.

A real estate agent and lifelong Wheatfield-area resident, James Soliday, helped Hogan find the location and has joined him as a business partner in the brewery, Hogan said.

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