Hudson Select Board discusses permit, licenses for new brewery

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The owners of Medusa Brewing Company in Hudson are looking to open their new brewery/restaurant called Wild Hare in the coming weeks. (Photo/Ben Domaingue)

HUDSON – A planned offshoot of Hudson’s Medusa Brewing Company now has its pouring permit and common victualler’s license for indoor use ahead of its upcoming opening.

But owners will have to wait for decisions on both an outdoor portion of the requested victualler’s license and a separate license for indoor and outdoor entertainment after a discussion at a Select Board meeting on Jan. 10. 

Brewery plans unique offerings

Medusa opened on Main Street in 2015 and quickly gained a following of devoted customers throughout the region. 

It has expanded since then, launching an outdoor beer garden near its main location and, most recently, an indoor beer garden at the Landing at the Hudson Mills on Broad Street. 

Now, owners are eyeing a permanent location at the Landing, with plans to operate under the name Wild Hare

“This is a very exciting time for us,” owner Keith Sullivan told the Select Board on Jan. 10. 

Wild Hare will feature beer and gourmet pastries and coffee as well as a lunch and dinner menu. It aims to include indoor and outdoor options. 

“This is a very different side of Medusa,” Sullivan said. “It’s a very different approach for a brewery in general.”

Abutters express concerns 

Sullivan appeared before the Select Board this month seeking a farmer brewery malt pouring permit, a common victualler’s license and a license for indoor and outdoor entertainment.

Select Board members, including member Shawn Sadowski raised concerns about the timing and scope of notices sent to abutters regarding this meeting, though, which Sadowski said were done on Jan. 6.

The notices were sent to abutters identified by the town assessor’s office based on guidance to notify abutters within 100 feet of Wild Hare, according to Building Commissioner Jeff Wood.

“I’m a little concerned that some of those people didn’t get the mailings in time to know about the [Select Board] meeting,” Sadowski said of those concerns about timing.

Sullivan responded, saying that notices were actually sent on Dec. 27. The Jan. 6 date reflected the date that paperwork confirming the notices was filed, he said. 

Select Board members also discussed the actual abutters list with Sullivan, town officials and community members who shared public comments, considering questions about whether more abutters should have been notified.

The Select Board ultimately moved forward with a vote.

The motion to grant that pouring permit passed by a 4-1 margin, with Sadowski casting the “no” vote. 

Board passes over, then revises vote on victualler’s license

The board then initially voted to pass over the victualler’s license with members noting concerns about seating plans particularly for outdoor dining. 

They also expressed concerns about the level and extent of documentation provided by the Wild Hare team for both their indoor and outdoor plans. 

The Select Board additionally voted to pass over the license for indoor and outdoor entertainment.

Sullivan asked that the board reconsider its vote on the victualler’s license, however.

This was due to the fact that Select Board Chair Scott Duplisea said the vote to pass over that item was largely based on concerns about the outdoor dining plan, not the indoor plan.

The Select Board doubled back, rescinding their initial vote and separating the indoor and outdoor portions of the victualler’s license. They approved the victualler’s license for indoor use while still passing over the outdoor use. 

Sadowski voted against the indoor use license after saying he still wanted to see an indoor seating plan that had not been provided to the Select Board.

Residents express concerns 

Some area residents have raised concerns about Wild Hare’s plans, sending a petition to the Select Board prior to this Jan. 10 meeting.

Multiple residents spoke on Jan. 10, specifically noting fears about noise pollution and parking in the area, among other things.

“We don’t have an issue with Medusa or Wild Hare going into the building,” said resident Scott LaFleur. “We have an issue with anything that they’re going to do outside of the building, which includes music, entertainment [and] dining.”

Members of the Select Board noted those concerns during their Jan. 10 meeting.

Representatives of the Landing, likewise, told concerned community members that they had adequate parking available to avoid situations where customers might park in area residential neighborhoods.

The Select Board will revisit its discussions of the entertainment license and the outdoor portion of the victualler’s license at a later date.

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