Next at Berkeley Mill: New brewery

Next at Berkeley Mill: New brewery

Jason Macari on Monday shows off the space he’s planning to convert into a new brewery at the Berkeley Mill on Martin Street. (Breeze photo by Ethan Shorey)
Peeled Snacks also expands in busy complex

CUMBERLAND – This town should soon be making its grand entrance into Rhode Island’s craft beer scene.

Jason Macari says his next big step in his transformation of the Berkeley Mill into a vibrant mixed-use complex on Martin Street is to create the amenity everyone asks him about: a new craft brewery.

“That’s really the only question I get about this place,” he said, laughing.

Macari told The Valley Breeze this week that his plans for the combined brewery and restaurant in the revived 1873 mill complex have changed in recent months, as his son has gone in a different direction with his career and likely won’t join him in making this a family affair, but he still expects to start development soon.

The successful developer said he’s now in the final stages in considering two potential paths forward on a new brewery:

• Putting a group of people together to develop it.

• And having an existing Rhode Island brewery take it over as its new second location.

Macari said he’s had extensive talks with a brewery and should have a more crystalized proposal for the project within a month. He said he can’t say where in Rhode Island the brewery is, but hinted that it’s a successful one.

Smaller breweries have two options as they grow, he said, one to begin distribution and the second to add new taprooms and brewing spaces.

“When you get really good at something, that’s what you have to decide,” he said.

Macari said he hasn’t totally ruled out starting the brewery himself, but said he’s less inclined to do so now that his son is getting more deeply involved in music and is no longer part of the equation.

The developer said the brewery has been on hold for a while due to how busy his primary company at the Berkeley Business Center, Baby Delight, has been.

The third floor of the Berkeley Mill on Martin Street is now just about full, Macari said, and he’s planning a mix of 20 residential units and additional commercial spaces on the fourth floor.

Successful healthy snack company Peeled Snacks has now expanded to some 4,600 square feet of space within the mill, creating healthy organic snacks that are now sold all over. Last year’s arrival of the company, which offers snacks that are “as close to nature as possible,” was a big deal for the Berkeley Mill, said Macari.

A salon, R + M Beauty Co., is also now running a busy operation in a standalone building on the site.

The Town Council last April approved an overlay district for the mill, making an allowance for both the brewery and planned residential units.

Owners of a neighboring construction company are challenging Macari’s right to develop the residential component of the mill, suggesting that residents of the units would file regular complaints about noise from next door. That legal challenge is still pending, and Macari is also waiting on approvals from the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management.

Macari’s plan also calls for other additional residential units in other parts of his mill complex.

The brewery would be located at the small mill building closest to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northern Rhode Island. That building covers about 1,500 square feet, and would house both a bar area and seating for food. The actual brewing space would be added on, with about 2,500-3,500 of additional structure built between that building and the main mill building. Macari said he thinks the food component is important to making this an attraction.

The developer said he’s thrilled to be bringing such an amenity to the town and is excited to see where it goes.

Jason Macari showed a rendering of his planned brewery last January. At that point he was intending to develop it as a joint venture with his son, but is now in talks to bring in an established brewery. (Breeze photo by Nicole Dotzenrod)
This 1,500-square-foot building at the Berkeley Mill, complete with a new addition of 2,500-3,500 square feet, should soon be the home of a new brewery, according to owner Jason Macari. (Breeze photo by Ethan Shorey)


This is big for the town. An actual business that will generate taxes. We need more businesses in this town. Not just another Vape shop or Hair Salon.

Finally something good for the town.
Thanks to Mr. Macari and the previous town council for allowing this to happen!