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Brewing company owners working to open in time for Fall Festival Firehouse Grill awaiting permits from county


Mount Airy's Fall Festival will bring thousands of visitors to the town's Main Street next weekend.

And the owners of the soon-to-be completed Mount Airy Brewing Co. and Firehouse Grill are working around the clock to open in time for the festivities.

"I'll be the most disappointed person here if we're not [open]," said A. Reid Allison III, co-owner of the restaurant and brewery with Hayes C. Larkins.

"We've been aiming at this date for 12 months," Mr. Allison said.

The opening, scheduled for 6 p.m. Oct. 7, is contingent on obtaining permits and approvals next week from county agencies.

Charles Zeleski, assistant director of the county's Bureau of Environmental Health, said the restaurant and brewery should meet its opening deadline.

"There's a fair amount left to do, but I think they'll be able to finish in the time that remains," Mr. Zeleski said.

Mr. Larkins and Mr. Allison have been working for the past three months to convert the old firehouse at 233 S. Main St. into a microbrewery and restaurant.

"We're targeting families as well as adult patrons," Mr. Allison said. "But it's principally going to be a young adult kind of place."

The company's brewing system will be in one of the three former fire engine bays on the first floor of the building, and the Firehouse Pub and Grill will be on the second floor.

Although the restaurant and pub might be open for the festival, Mount Airy Brewing Co. won't be brewing its own beers until next month, when its equipment comes on line, Mr. Larkins said.

To have beers available for the festival, Mr. Larkins has contracted with outside breweries to produce some customized beers for the event.

Before the evening opening of the restaurant and pub, Mr. Larkins and Mr. Allison hope to have a pig roast and serve beer in the fire engine bays.

The two men and their wives paid $390,000 for the old Mount Airy firehouse, which had been vacant for three years.

A former resident of Mount Airy, Mr. Allison moved back to the town in July after practicing law in Seattle for several years.

Mr. Larkins, of Hampstead, owns the Home Brew Shop in the Pennsylvania Dutch Farmers' Market in Westminster.

The designated brew meister of the venture, Mr. Larkins plans to ZTC offer three signature beers and a seasonal beer on tap regularly. He has said he is planning to have a pale ale, a red ale and a dark cherry stout.

Under state regulations, microbreweries are permitted to produce 10,000 barrels of beer annually and they may sell beer off-site.

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