Lots cookin’ at The Brewery

Jillian Taratunio

BROOKSIDE—Tucked away in a complex between Amory Street and Brookside Avenue and between Green and Stony Brook T stations, food producers and restaurant owners spend their days creating unique products for JP, Massachusetts and beyond. Some whip up batches of preservative-free food, while others aspire to create a meeting spot for residents.

The Brewery small business complex, a project of the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC), aims to bring new life to the community and to create jobs and opportunities for local business people, according to Richard Thal, executive director of the JPNDC. More than 40 businesses call the former Haffenreffer Brewery, which ceased brewing in 1965, home. “We want to represent the face of JP,” said Lisa King, the property manager.
Eight food manufacturers and restaurants in The Brewery, technically at 284 Amory St., provide JP residents with little reason to look any farther than their own community for food.


Boston Beer Company, producer of Sam Adams Beer, is such a suitable tenant, some people assume The Brewery complex is named for it. The truth is, Jim Koch founded Boston Beer Company in 1984, and he began brewing beer at The Brewery in 1988, long after the Haffenreffer Brewery started brewing beer in 1871 and five years after JPNDC bought the run-down complex.

Boston Beer is the largest brewer of craft beer in the US. There are over 21 styles of Sam Adams Beer. During the tours that are held Monday through Saturday, visitors can learn about the history, the ingredients and the brewing process. At the end of the tour, people over the age of 21 can sample Sam Adams Beer.

Boston Beer was scheduled to start selling three specialty beers—one a local namesake called Stony Brook Red—from its gift shop last week in a very limited fashion. Stony Brook and two others are only available in single wine-sized bottles in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire and Denver.
For more information, visit www.samueladams.com.


The restaurants at The Brewery are also well-known local gathering places. Bella Luna Restaurant and the Milky Way Lounge relocated from Hyde Square to The Brewery this spring. The restaurant offers a seasonal menu, featuring contemporary Mediterranean food. The lounge provides entertainment, such as trivia, dance nights and live music, performed by musicians mostly from JP. For more information, visit www.milkywayjp.com.

Ula Café offers JP residents a community gathering spot, as well as mostly organic, all-natural food. Ula features a full in-house bakery, where all products, with the exception of bread, are freshly baked. Ula, co-owned by Korinn Koslofsky and Kate Bancroft, uses food from farmers markets as well as from manufacturers in The Brewery. The café offers a wide selection of sandwiches, pastries, soup, salads, coffee and tea. For more information, call 524-7890.

Food and wine

Tofu, wine, tempeh, pretzels, Middle Eastern cuisine and chocolate, anyone? Those and products from 25 smaller establishments are made at The Brewery. 21st Century Foods, the oldest business at The Brewery, produces tofu, tempeh and wine. Owner Rudy Canale, originally from Italy, makes five styles of sulfite and preservative-free red and white wine that is high in antioxidants. Canale sells the products to six restaurants and stores in JP. Products are also sold to customers outside of JP, and the culture for tempeh is sold throughout the US and internationally. For more information, call 522-7595.

Boston Pretzel Bakery has been producing all-natural, preservative-free pretzels in JP for over 10 years. Salted, sesame and plain pretzels are freshly baked every day at the wholesale bakery in The Brewery. Pretzels are sold at itsFaneuil Hall Marketplace store, and to local colleges, elementary and high schools, sports stadiums, vendors for parades and to non-profits. For more information, call 522-9494.

CropCircle Kitchen, recently known as Nuestra Culinary Ventures, is a commercial kitchen that rents space to hopeful culinary entrepreneurs. The non-profit organization, headed by Executive Director Jonathan Kemp, is dedicated to helping people grow and start food businesses. There are currently 25 businesses operating out of CropCircle; all but two are from the Boston area. CropCircle provides sales and marketing, business development and guidance. Volunteer professionals teach culinary classes and food safety training.

Laria Foods, owned by Amir Sedholm, is part food manufacturing company, part catering service. Laria manufactures predominantly Middle Eastern food, all preservative-free. Laria sells the food to a grocery chain store under a private label, and to restaurants and stores all over Massachusetts under their own label. The catering service provides food for a variety of events. Depending on the event, Laria employees deliver the food, serve it or prepare it on the spot. For more information, call 983-3691.

VIP Sweets, owned by husband John Lichten and wife Mary Milgrom, manufactures custom-molded dark, milk and white chocolate. Chocolate of Champions, VIP Sweets’ line of products for pet lovers, features candy-shaped dog biscuits, round disks with cameos of different dog breeds and paw prints. Chocolate products are sold to universities, hospitals, businesses and non-profits. For more information, call 524-9778.

For more information about the JPNDC, visit www.jpndc.org.

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