Springfield brewery progresses toward opening

The application, filed Feb. 10, represents another sign of progress for a $2.5 million project that former Center City Association Executive Director Bill Harless called “a game-changer for downtown” when plans first emerged in March 2015.

Kevin Loftis, one of the brewery’s founders, said this week that he’s shooting for a late-May opening, depending on the timeline of obtaining federal and state licenses and permits.

With an eye toward irony, the brewery will be called “Mother Stewart’s Brewing Company,” named for Eliza Daniel “Mother” Stewart, one of the leaders of the temperance movement in the Springfield and Xenia area in the late 1800s, Loftis said. She is buried in Springfield.

The project received a 10-year, 60-percent property tax abatement from the city of Springfield in September 2015. Developers will spend an estimated $1.3 million on building improvements to the space and $800,000 on equipment, according to public documents.

Loftis and his father, Tom Loftis, have been spearheading the project. Last September, Tom Loftis told the Springfield News-Sun that four to five flagship beers will be introduced at the microbrewery, which would eventually include a tap room and outdoor beer garden. In the future, the brewery could include event space, developers said.

The brewery is expected to have about four employees the first year and about seven by the end of the second year with an annual payroll of about $200,000.

Kevin Loftis earned a diploma in brewing studies from the Chicago-based Siebel Institute of Technology in 1997.

A vacant building being put back into productive use will be a good project for the community, particularly the downtown area, Deputy City Manager Bryan Heck said in September.

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