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By Gregory Weiner, Member, PK Law

Roger Bedard (left), General Manager, Pooles Island Brewing Company and Gregory S. Weiner, Member, PK Law

Pooles Island Brewing Company recently opened its brewing operation and taproom within a 10,000 square foot space at Greenleigh at Crossroads, a mixed-use development located in Middle River. Owners Roger Bedard and Scott Donnelly discussed their plans for the craft brewery, which includes an outdoor terrace and a private area for special events. Food service at the facility is slated to include a rotating selection of popular local food trucks for patrons to enjoy on evenings and weekends.

What was the genesis of Pooles Island Brewing Company?

Roger Bedard (RB):In the late 80s, my father and uncle were early investors in Ipswich Brewing. I grew up around my uncle brewing his own beer and joined in the fun as I was old enough. Several years ago, I was looking for a career change from the technology sector and envisioned an opportunity in Baltimore County given its lack of brewing companies. Our goal was to focus exclusively on selling our beer products in house. It took us approximately one year to plan the facility and another year to build it out.

Explain why the craft beer industry is so popular currently in Baltimore?

Scott Donnelly (SD): A large part of it is Maryland just now catching up with the rest of the country. You are seeing an explosion of craft brewers opening up within the past few years, but we still have a long way to go to rival areas such as New England. Consumers are becoming more sophisticated beer drinkers and don’t want to settle anymore for Budweiser or Coors Light. Their tastes are different and more refined and they want beer with local roots and flavors. It happened the same way in the wine, whiskey and distillery business.

Tell me more about Pooles Island.

SD: Our brewery features a 15 barrel system and a 2 barrel pilot system led by Head Brewer, Patrick Jones. Jones, who started his brewing career in 1998 with Big River Grille & Brewing Works in Nashville, has also mastered his craft at Gordon Biersch, Triumph Brewing Co., and Byway Brewing Co. He has won numerous awards at the Best of Florida Beer Championships, Indiana Brewers Cup and the Great American Beer Festival. We intend to begin with 12 beers with a maximum of 16 at any given time, with some reserved for only being served behind the bar. Six beers of the product mix will be seasonal. Our mission, at least initially, is to sell everything we manufacture in-house.

How do you intend to stand out from the crowd?

RB: By focusing on a core group of traditional styles that are not around as much now, while also covering the newer styles. The two-barrel system will allow us to experiment with small batches and be extremely creative. Having a 15BBL and 2BBL will allow us to ramp up something that has taken hold in the market.

Why did Greenleigh at Crossroads win your real estate competition?

SD: The location backs up to a wooded area. By installing a patio area, we will take advantage of the outdoors regular events and it also provides some seclusion and privacy. We were also attracted to the rapid expansion of the Greenleigh at Crossroads community, including business and residential areas and intend to grow along with it. This development has everything we want and need.

Pessin Katz Law, P.A. (PK Law) is the ninth largest law firm in the Baltimore area and has been serving clients for thirty years. PK Law maintains full-service offices in Towson, Columbia, and Bel Air and is comprised of more than 50 lawyers, paralegals and law clerks. Practice areas include corporate law, real estate, zoning, education law, estate planning, elder law, labor and employment, litigation, insurance law and medical malpractice defense. For additional information, visit Contact Greg Weiner at or 410.339.5785.