Derby Mayor Rich Dziekan cut the first of what he hopes will be many ribbons welcoming new businesses to the city Wednesday.
Sherman’s Taphouse is now open for business at 181 Main St.
Owner Sean Sherman and his wife Leigh Anne welcomed Dziekan and other local leaders for a ceremony celebrating the new restaurant.
The location was previously the home of Fratelli’s and 500 Degrees. Sherman has been working for months to make the space different than its previous iterations.
“We wanted something that was a little more laid back, a place where people could just come in, relax, have fun, enjoy themselves, have some really good food along with some really great beer,” Sherman said.
A Texas native, Sherman is the former manager of J. Timothy’s Taverne, an award-winning Plainville restaurant.
The staff of about 30 full- and part-time employees at Sherman’s Taphouse include General Manager James Welch and Chef Daniel “Red” Roos.
The business looks to capitalize on the steady growth of the craft beer movement, which is growing faster than the overall beer market.
The industry contributed $67.8 billion to the U.S. economy in 2016, according to the Brewers Association, a craft brewing trade group.
In Connecticut, the economic impact was pegged at more than $718 million.
That impact has been felt already in Connecticut’s smallest city, with the openings of The Hops Company beer garden on Sodom Lane and Bad Sons Beer Co., a brewery on Roosevelt Drive for which Sherman’s will set aside one of its 16 taps.
The Dew Drop Inn, at the corner of North Avenue and Roosevelt Drive, has become a regional destination for beer and chicken-wing lovers.
By 2025 the worldwide market for craft brews will top $500 billion, according to one estimate.
Sherman said after Wednesday’s ribbon cutting that most of the restaurant’s 16 taps will be dedicated to craft brews, many of which be from Connecticut.
“Craft beer is so big these days,” Sherman said, rattling off a list that included Bad Sons, Beer’d, New England Brewing Company, Stony Creek, Kent Falls, and Two Roads. “They have grown so much, and so many of them are doing such a great job.”
While he said that while first considering opening the business he had concerns about parking, he sees potential in Derby.
“As long as you’re doing things the right way, people will come,” Sherman said.
He also hopes the long-awaited widening of Route 34, upgrades to the Waterbury Line train service, and movement in the city’s redevelopment zone between Route 34 and the Housatonic River will bring more attention.
“It just has so much potential. I think we can be successful even before (the redevelopment),” Sherman said. “After that it just adds exponentially to the opportunity.”
Other than Dziekan, Derby officials in attendance included Andrew Baklik, the mayor’s chief of staff; Carmen DiCenso, the city’s economic development liaison; and Board of Aldermen members Ron Sill, Evelyn Browning, and Barbara DeGennaro.
Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce President Bill Purcell emcee’d the ribbon cutting.
Dziekan said since taking office he’s been working with the Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments in an effort to kickstart the Route 34 project as well as a plan to make improvements on the Derby-Shelton bridge.
“A main goal is to get that foot traffic from Shelton coming over here,” Dziekan said.
Sherman’s Taphouse at 181 Main St. can be reached at 203-308-2179.
Click here for the business’ Facebook page.
Click here for a menu from the restaurant’s website.