The old Droege’s Supermarket building in Downtown Washington will become home to a new microbrewery and taproom set to open next month.
John G’s Taproom is scheduled to hold a soft opening around the end of the third week in June with a grand opening taking place after the Fourth of July holiday.
Terry Heisler is partnering with his wife Jeri as owners. The couple also own Augusta Brewing Company and John G’s Bier Deck.
While shopping carts still sit near the entrance of the former grocery store that closed in April of 2011, the space has been completely renovated.
Terry Heisler said the taproom, with seating for about 160 people, will offer what he calls “comfort food,” such as hamburgers, french fries, chicken wings, Droege’s fried chicken and salads plus several types of beers.
Dean Brunner will be the chef. The nearly completed kitchen for the taproom is located where the deli used to be in the supermarket. The bar was scheduled to be installed Thursday.
The restrooms, which are almost finished, are in the rear of the building.
As renovations in the taproom continue, so does work in the basement where the microbrewery operations will take place.
When completed, there will be a 32-by-19-foot hole in the main floor to provide patrons a view of the brewing tanks in the basement.
Terry said an approximate 5-foot-tall railing with glass on the sides will be built around the hole in the floor. Seating will be available on two sides around the railing.
The fermentation, hot liquor and mash tanks, which are anywhere from 15 to 19 feet tall, will reach above the main floor, Terry said.
The brewing tanks and equipment are expected to arrive by the end of the first week of June, he noted.
Pacific Manufacturing is building the tanks and Schwoeppe Machine & Tool, Marthasville, built the bottling line for the brewery. Terry said the equipment can bottle about 60 cases in one hour.
Tours of the brewery will be offered Saturdays and Sundays, Terry said.
Hours have not been set for the taproom, according to Terry, but he noted it will likely be open for lunch and dinner most days.
In addition to the taproom, there will be a living room bar with soft chairs and loveseats as well as a large banquet room which will be able to seat about 140 people. The banquet room will open after the soft opening in June.
Terry said the banquet room will be known as the Mercantile Room, named after the former store, J.G. Droege’s Mercantile.
According to Terry, there are already two events booked for the banquet room.
A new event coordinator with the company will be able to help groups that want to host a party, reunion, meeting or other event.
A job hiring fair for the taproom will be held Wednesday, June 6, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 107 W. Main St., to fill positions, such as bartenders, waitresses, assistant cooks and catering support personnel.
Owners and hiring personnel will be present to answer job-related questions and conduct brief interviews. Applicants must fill out applications and present résumés and valid credentials.
The building where the taproom is located was built around 1893, Terry said.