J. Hollis Albert, one of the owners of the new Peabody Heights Brewery, stands outside of its bottling plant, the old Beverage Capital Corp. plant.

J. Hollis Albert, one of the owners of the new Peabody Heights Brewery, stands outside of its bottling plant, the old Beverage Capital Corp. plant. (Noah Scialom)

Peabody Heights Brewery, formerly called Charm City Brewing Company, has signed a lease this month for a bottling plant near Waverly, in the Abell neighborhood.

The lease puts it one step closer to becoming the first large-scale brewery to open within city limits in over 30 years.

Spearheaded by Stephen Demczuk, owner of Baltimore-Washington Beer Works, and entrepreneur J. Hollis Albert, the brewery expects to be open for business as early as May, though Demczuk says a June launch is more likely. 

Peabody will have a 30-barrel brewhouse that its owners hope will eventually produce 40,000 barrels a year of several kinds of beers already made by some of Baltimore's microbrewers.

Baltimore-Washington Beer Works will make its The Raven beer, now available in four states in the Mid-Atlantic, at the brewery. And Demczuk says he will eventually launch three more lines - Pendulum Pilsner, Tell-Tale Hearty Ale and the Cask of Amontillado.

Oliver Breweries, which operates partly out of Pratt Street Ale House, will also contract-brew out of Peabody, Albert said. Justin Dvorkin, owner of Oliver's, said that while he's not closing the door entirely on contract-brewing at Peabody, Oliver Breweries will focus on a recent expansion at the Ale House for the time being.

Peabody came together last Fall, and acquired the support of several neighborhood associations in the Waverly area, as well as City Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke.

The lease was the last step before its owners could begin applying for federal and state brewing licenses. Brewing equipment is expected to arrive at the bottling plant, the former Beverage Capital Corp., in April.

The brewery would be the first to open within Baltimore since F & M Schaefer Brewing Company closed its Highlandtown plant in 1978. Since then, only brewpubs and microbreweries with small - under 2,000 barrels a year - production have opened within the city.

Experts credit Peabody's opening to a swell of interest in the craft beer industry, which has exploded in recent years. A smaller brewery with a 20-barrel brewhouse, Union Craft Brewing Co., is in the works in Woodberry.

The projects are just two that are part of a boomlet of craft breweries in Maryland.

Post was updated to include comments from Justin Dvorkin, owner of Oliver Breweries.