Milton OKs new well for Dogfish HeadTown water could adversely affect beer, officials say
Milton — Dogfish Head is set to drill a second private well at its brewing facility in Milton to accommodate the brewery's new packaging line at its recently constructed warehouse.
Brewmaster Tim Hawn said the town's treated water can have adverse effects on beer, so it prefers to use its own well to avoid fluoridation and chlorination of the water.
“When you rinse a bottle, they don't completely drain out,” he said. “There's always a little left in there, and that's the part that will damage the beer and cause off flavors in our beers.”
Dogfish will continue to use water from a well located at its main facility. Until the new well is complete, water will be sent to the new warehouse through a temporary pipeline.
Hawn said the brewery plans to pump 110 to 115 gallons per minute once once everything is fully operational. A second well is needed, he said, because the brewery will not be able to pump enough water from a single well once the it reaches an annual production level of 500,000 barrels. Dogfish planned to produce 202,000 barrels in 2013. Hawn said it could take five to six years to reach 500,000.
The brewery's new 75,000-square-foot warehouse is located on land it purchased from Chestnut Properties in 2011. The acquisition perturbed some residents who wished to see the third phase of homes in Cannery Village as was originally intended for that land.
Despite a unanimous vote for approval Dec. 2, some members of Milton Town Council and town staff had concerns.
“They've already got one well for production out there,” said Public Works Supervisor Dustan Russum. “I understand their concerns, but I think we need to look into some other avenues here so we're not losing out on possible revenue.”
Mayor Marion Jones said revenue was also on her mind, but the town could not force Dogfish to use water that may negatively impact its product.
“My concern is for income,” she said. “But we also have it well established that Dogfish is unable to use the town's treated water. In my mind, I have no true concept of how much trace water can be left after you've sterilize a bottle. So I'm not in a position to argue how much is left in there when the process is finished.”
Russum also pointed to an ongoing debate regarding private irrigation wells. Many residents are calling for the town to allow private wells, which they say could relieve stress on the town's water system.
“We keep telling them no because we don't want to lose the revenue of them watering their grass and washing their cars in their front yard,” said Vice Mayor John Booros.
However, Hawn's explanation for why Dogfish would prefer to use its own water won council's support.
“Watering lawns is not the same as making beer,” said Councilwoman Stell Parker Selby. “This is the type of business that does need the right type of water. I would think we'd want to make sure that happened.”