The expansion of a prominent downtown Verona business into Fitchburg is still mostly on track for a summer opening, despite operational changes during the state’s ongoing “Safer at Home” order.
The owners of Hop Haus Brewing Company, which opened in June 2015 at 231 S. Main St. in Verona, announced plans last year to open a second location, at 2975 Sub Zero Parkway in Fitchburg.
Verona residents Phil and Sara Hoechst broke ground on their second location in September 2019. While initially hoping for a mid-June opening, Sara said they are now eyeing a mid-July opening.
The new facility will be over 10,000 square feet and will include a full kitchen, rentable private event space, rooftop outdoor patio and a yard space for lawn games and seating. The space will be more than four times the size of its current location.
Apart from an expanded food menu and more seating, the new location will nearly double the brewing capacity of Hop Haus, allowing the business to brew up to 2,500 barrels a year.
The Verona location will remain open.
“We feel the two locations will have different vibes and will both be well supported,” Sara said.
During the business shutdown, the Verona location has offered carryout of its beers Wednesdays through Sundays, allowing people to order beer on the Hop Haus website and pick up orders from the brewery.
“The carryout in Verona is going well. We’re very fortunate to have such supportive communities around us,” Sara said.
The brewery has created a couple new beers inspired by the state’s “Safer at Home” order, Home School Hero and March Sadness.
Sara said the company anticipates a full reopening of the Verona location June 1 but is hoping for clearer guidelines from the state, particularly regarding seating capacity and cleaning.
“We have already installed one hand sanitizer station but will install one or two more before reopening and will likely have a staff member during every shift dedicated to wiping down tables and chairs between uses and making sure we aren’t exceeding capacity in the tap room,” she said.
She added that Paycheck Protection Program funding has allowed Hop Haus to retain its entire Verona staff. The company will begin hiring for the Fitchburg location by late May to ensure enough time proper training.