Christopher DeWalt, CEO of DeWalt Brewing Co., plans to move the brewery’s headquarters from Reading, Pennsylvania, to Atlantic City if it receives a state grant this week. DeWalt said his business advisers recommended relocating to Atlantic City. ‘They felt Atlantic City was down but not out and on the way back up,’ he says. ‘It’s a prime time to be one of the first ones to get in.’

ATLANTIC CITY — A Pennsylvania-based brewery could soon relocate its headquarters to this city.

DeWalt Brewing Company wants to move next door to the Little Water Distillery in a warehouse in the Northeast Inlet, said Christopher DeWalt, the company’s CEO and founder.

The company has applied for a state grant through the Grow New Jersey Assistance Program. The state Economic Development Authority board will vote on the grant’s approval at its next meeting, according to the EDA.

The brewery’s relocation to Atlantic City is contingent on receiving the grant, DeWalt said. The estimated annual grant award would be $108,795 per year for 10 years, according to the EDA agenda.

“We are actually at the finish line,” DeWalt said. “Everything is in place. We’re waiting to go. Once the vote goes down, that day if they do it early or the very next day, we will be hitting the ground running.”

The brewery would have a grand opening in July, but the craft beer could arrive to the city sooner, possibly June, DeWalt said. He plans to bring 15 employees to the city by the end of the first year, and employ 85 to 100 workers after a decade.

The brewery currently has three beers — a German-style lager, an India pale ale and a mixed berry apple cider, according to its website. DeWalt, 50, plans to reveal three more recipes when it moves to the city.

The company will keep its Pennsylvania distribution deals and agreements with minor league stadiums, including the home of the Reading Fightin Phils, DeWalt said.

DeWalt said the warehouse, bordered by Lexington, Delaware and Baltic avenues, is a great location in part because it’s adjacent to Little Water Distillery, which will have its official grand opening March 25. DeWalt said he began negotiations to secure a lease for the location in the fall, contingent on receiving the state grant approval.

Little Water owner Mark Ganter said the brewery and distillery would be a “perfect fit,” and said he has met with DeWalt several times.

“The location is not coincidental. I’ll put it that way,” said Ganter, who owns the distillery with his brother, Eric. “It creates a perfect combination to not only attract like-minded clientele, but the collaboration possibilities are also endless.”

The brewery has received strong support from city government. DeWalt has applied for a small business loan through the city, and the loan committe has recommended approval, Planning and Development Director Elizabeth Terenik said.

The location is already approved for brewery use from when the Zoning Board issued a use variance for the distillery, Terenik said. The city worded the approval for all other similar uses, and blanketed the approval for the entire property in case the distillery wanted to expand or a compatible business wanted to locate there, she said in a January letter of support for the project.

“We are thrilled that DeWalt is considering Atlantic City as their new home,” she wrote Jan. 4. “They have spent time with city elected officials, community groups, as well as the zoning, health, construction and mercantile offices. All have expressed their support, and we stand ready and willing to expedite their approvals and permits.”

DeWalt said his business advisers recommended relocating to Atlantic City. Mayor Don Guardian has already given the company a written declaration making the brewery the official craft beer of Atlantic City, DeWalt said.

“They felt Atlantic City was down but not out and on the way back up,” DeWalt said. “It’s a prime time to be one of the first ones to get in.”

Correction: DeWalt Brewing Company has not yet signed a lease for the warehouse on Arctic Avenue. 



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