Batavia could soon welcome brewery and tap house to town
A new brewery and tap house could open next year in a historic building in Batavia.
Batavia aldermen this week granted preliminary approval for Sturdy Shelter Brewery to open at 10 S. Shumway Ave.
"I'm very, very excited about the possibility of being in the Batavia community and bringing the Sturdy Shelter Brewery here," owner Frank Mercadente told aldermen during Tuesday's committee of the whole meeting.
The city council is being asked to approve a conditional use permit for the business. Mercadente also is seeking a variance to construct a deck for outdoor seating.
Mercadente says a vast majority of the business will be taproom-oriented.
"The brewhouse will only be 1,200 square feet," he said. "There will be no canning facility on-premise."
Mercadente said plans call for indoor seating for 200 taproom patrons. He said his mission is to "build a treasured and genial community, one person, one conversation and one highly crafted beer at a time."
During the committee of the whole meeting, aldermen voted 11-0 to approve the conditional use permit and the variance. The city council will take a final vote on both requests during its Monday meeting.
Alderman Mark Uher this week said he was "highly in favor" of the new business and excited about the prospect of a brewery and taproom in town.
However, Uher suggested that Mercadente consider a three-season room as opposed to an outdoor deck He said a three-season room would be usable for a greater part of the year.
Mayor Jeff Schielke said he was old enough to remember when the building housed a movie theater.
He said there is a "high suspicion" that Mark Twain wrote a love letter to his then-future wife at the site when he came to town on Jan. 29, 1869, to give a lecture. Schielke said Twain favorably mentions the residents of Batavia in the letter.
Batavia City Administrator Laura Newman said historical signage might be available to commemorate that event if it can be confirmed.
If approved, Mercadente said he expects the business to open in spring 2022.