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Clayton Wood Boat Brewery slated to open in June (VIDEO)

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CLAYTON — Seated at the newly built front deck at Clayton Wood Boat Brewery, diners will have a vantage point of watercraft gliding along the St. Lawrence River.

They’ll also have a view of the Antique Boat Museum from the brewery at 625 Mary St., which is expected to open the first week of June. The brewery is co-owned by Michael J. Hazlewood and Lance L. Peterson, both Clayton businessmen, and Steven Cook of Atlanta, Ga. The building, previously occupied by Mar’s Pizzeria and the Harbor Inn, was leased by the three partners last spring from property owner James B. Cumming after sitting vacant for about three years.

The brewery, which will offer a diverse range of craft brews and wines, soon is expected to receive state and federal brewer’s licenses needed for it to open, said Mr. Hazlewood, who also owns Hazlewood Mechanical Inc.

“This seemed to be something the village needed,” he said. “I’ve always been making beers myself, and I thought doing this would be fun. And I thought it would be a shame if nothing was done with this building.”

Along with its large outdoor deck built last winter, which will seat about 70 people, those who visit the establishment this summer will notice the building has been completely overhauled, Mr. Hazlewood said. Its dining area, which will seat 52 people, features a 30-foot mahogany bar. Behind the bar is a large fireplace equipped with a brick oven, built by Morgia Masonry of Clayton, that will be used to cook artisan pizzas. The menu also will include an array of deli sandwiches and appetizers.

Mr. Hazlewood said the other co-owners invested about $300,000 — $100,000 apiece — to transform the old building and purchase brewery equipment over the past year. The microbrewery’s seven-barrel production system was custom-built by Bridgetown Brew Systems of Portland, Ore.

The business will offer just one of its own craft brews when it opens, but six to eight varieties of ales and lagers eventually will be on tap when the production system is operating at full capacity, Mr. Hazlewood said. Fifteen employees will staff the brewery, but that will bump up to 20 during the peak summer months of July and August, he said.

A diverse selection of craft beers, wines and spirits also will be offered, Mr. Hazlewood said. He said the brewery will form partnerships to sell products from Coyote Moon Winery, Thousand Islands Winery, Clayton Distillery and Sackets Harbor Brewing Co.

“We have an entry-level system that can only produce so much beer in a year, so having a variety of local craft beer and wine will help,” he said. “I want people to come, sit on the deck, experience some local products and take some home with them.”

Three upper-level apartments above the brewery were renovated last year as a component of the project, Mr. Hazlewood said, and they are now occupied by tenants.

Mr. Peterson, who also owns St. Lawrence River Dogs and Peterson’s Painting in Clayton, said that Mr. Hazlewood persuaded him to invest in the brewery.

“Mike called me up one day and said, ‘Hey, buddy, I’ve got a good idea for a business but need a partner.’ I told him that I’ve never partnered up on anything in my life, but I liked his plan,” Mr. Peterson said.

Mr. Peterson said he believes the brewery will lure steady traffic from visitors to the Antique Boat Museum during the summer.

“I think the museum will play a major role, and we’re the only restaurant on this side of town,” he said. “We’re away from downtown here, but still within walking distance. I think it’s a little bit more private here than downtown. People will be able to sit outside and not see a lot of traffic.”

The brewery will be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week. It will remain open during the winter.

Video featuring Clayton Boat Brewery can be seen at

Clayton Wood Boat Brewery
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