While the fact that Lawson’s Finest Liquids is moving from Warren to Waitsfield is not new news, the fact that the company is breaking ground in Waitsfield tomorrow is great news.

The eagerly anticipated addition of a 30 bbl brewery in Waitsfield is an important and significant undertaking, one that will advance economic vitality in the Mad River Valley in many ways.

Lawson’s Finest’s award-winning beers will bring beer aficionados flocking to The Valley with the same fervor that they flock to Stowe for the enormously popular Heady Topper. That means more stops at local shops, more stops at inns and restaurants and gas stations.

The addition of this brewery means that more than 20 new, full-time jobs (with benefits) will be coming to our community.

And, because brewery owners Karen and Sean Lawson care about the environment and their community, this new brewery will feature a wastewater pretreatment system that reduces the biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) level of the effluent from 4,000 mg to 250 mg per liter. When that pretreated effluent is run through the second pretreatment system, which the town installed at Winter Park, the BOD levels will be reduced to 10 mg per liter.

This new brewery represents a significant capital investment in Waitsfield as well as a real commitment in terms of jobs for our community. The fact that the town of Waitsfield realized the value of paying for the second pretreatment system for wastewater represents good leadership. Making it possible for Lawson’s Finest to move here and use the town’s municipal water system means more use of that water system, which is what the system needs.

But it goes further than that: Over a decade ago the town received grants and loans to pursue a municipal wastewater system – which voters rejected. Thanks to nimble-thinkers and planners, Waitsfield was able convert what would have been debt from those grants and loans into a loan program that covered decentralized wastewater projects throughout the town. The paybacks from those loans create a revolving fund for future projects.
It took a lot of work to get to the point where Lawson’s Finest could seeks its permits and it took a lot of work to get from the start of permitting to tomorrow’s groundbreaking.

But it’s going to be worth all that effort.

Welcome to Waitsfield.