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Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Hen of the Wood Restaurateurs Buy Prohibition Pig

Posted By on Tue, Dec 4, 2018 at 3:22 PM

COURTESY OF PROHIBITION PIG
  • Courtesy of Prohibition Pig
Prohibition Pig is closed Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. When it reopens on Thursday, the restaurant will do so under new ownership: Eric Warnstedt and Will McNeil, co-owners of Hen of the Wood and Doc Ponds, purchased the Waterbury brewpub on Tuesday, Warnstedt said.

The business partners purchased Prohibition Pig — a restaurant/bar and affiliated brewery and tasting room — from Chad Rich, finalizing the deal at about 1 p.m. on Tuesday.  With the new acquisition, Warnstedt and McNeil own four restaurants — two in Waterbury, where Warnstedt founded the original Hen in 2005; a second Hen on Cherry Street in Burlington, and Doc Ponds in Stowe.

“I’ve been buddies with Chad since before all this,” Warnstedt said. “It was an easy transition to think maybe we’d be partners one day. And then it came to the idea of him maybe wanting to make some changes, and I was the logical option without shopping it.”

Warnstedt, who grew up in Florida and North Carolina, said the prospect of running a restaurant that serves Southern-style food appeals to him. Prohibition Pig features smoked meat plates, barbecue sandwiches, burgers and other pub fare.

Eric Warnstedt, right, with William McNeil - FILE: MATTHEW THORSEN
  • File: Matthew Thorsen
  • Eric Warnstedt, right, with William McNeil
“I’m really excited,” Warnstedt, 43, said. “I’m born in the South, and this is everything in the world I’ve wanted to play in. Here we can play in our local world  but with this whole southern spin, which is right up my alley.”

There are no plans to make changes at the Waterbury brewpub, which employs about 50 people, Warnstedt said. The acquisition brings to 160 the number of people employed by the restaurateurs.

“It’s really just getting to know everyone,” Warnstedt said. “The Pig has been doing great for six years; let’s set up for another six years. It’s really about building up the foundation so we’re setting ourselves up there to be successful in the long term.”

Prohibition Pig occupies the space at 23 South Main Street in Waterbury that was the original home of the Alchemist, a brewpub founded in 2003 by John and Jen Kimmich. The  couple later moved out of the downtown space to launch a cannery in Waterbury, where they brewed Heady Topper. In July 2016, the Kimmiches opened a brewery and visitor center in Stowe.

“I feel like we’re really carrying the torch of what’s been happening there, from the Alchemist to Prohibition Pig to our version of Prohibition Pig," Warnstedt said.

Since Tropical Storm Irene damaged homes and businesses in Waterbury in August 2011, the town's rebuilding  efforts have come to include a revitalized downtown. Waterbury has become a food and beverage hub of the region.

“For me, I live here,” Warnstedt said. “I’m not going anywhere. I feel like I want to double-down in Waterbury. We can do a lot more to the town through the Pig. It’s bigger [than Hen-Waterbury]. There’s more going on. It’s the center of the town, physically and spiritually.”

The Burlington Free Press reported the news of Prohibition Pig’s sale earlier on Tuesday.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Farmhouse Group to Add Three Restaurants Next Year

Posted By on Tue, Nov 27, 2018 at 7:15 PM

Nachos at El Cortijo - DON EGGERT/FILE
  • Don Eggert/File
  • Nachos at El Cortijo
The Farmhouse Group, owner of four restaurants in the Burlington area, is planning to open three new restaurants in 2019, according to owner Jed Davis.

Two of the restaurants, called Bliss Bee, will represent a new concept for the Farmhouse Group. The third restaurant will be another El Cortijo; the new one, a taqueria and margarita bar similar to its downtown Burlington namesake, will be in Winooski.

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Friday, August 10, 2018

Applesauce and Vinegar Company in Central Vermont Trims Its Workforce

Posted By on Fri, Aug 10, 2018 at 6:16 PM

FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
The applesauce and vinegar maker Vermont Village laid off about a dozen of its 50 employees this week and late last week, blaming a sales slump.

The Barre company got its start making small batch applesauce and jumped into the growing market for apple cider vinegar drinks a few years ago. It's overall sales had surged.

But over the last few months, orders slumped and the company decided to lay off about a dozen employees, according to Andrew Lawrence, brand manager. Employees work staggered shifts. The first were notified late last week and the last were notified Tuesday.

“Operations basically had exceeded what we could support with sales,"  Lawrence said Tuesday. "We are trying to get back to that level where we are cash-flow positive.’’

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Friday, January 26, 2018

Sap! Makes a Run in Los Angeles

Posted By on Fri, Jan 26, 2018 at 10:30 AM


Chas Smith pitches Sap! on "Shark Tank" - COURTESY OF DISNEY ABC
  • COURTESY OF DISNEY ABC
  • Chas Smith pitches Sap! on "Shark Tank"

Update, January 29, 2018: Sap! did not strike a deal Sunday night on "Shark Tank," though the Burlington-based company did receive an offer of $600,000 for a 30-percent ownership stake. The local entrepreneurs countered with 20 percent, but in the end no deal was made.

When the founders of  Sap! got an email last summer  about the possibility of being contestants on "Shark Tank," a reality TV show that matches businesses with ultra-rich investors (sharks!), they thought it was a joke. But a follow-up phone call convinced Chas Smith, who owns the Burlington-based soft drink company with his cousin, Nikita Salmon, that the email was not a scam.

Smith and Salmon decided to give TV-entrepreneurship a go, and they completed an application to compete on "Shark Tank." Within three weeks, the Vermonters found themselves in front of the cameras at Sony studios in Culver City, California. They pitched their product — carbonated beverages made from maple sap and birch sap — to five tycoons who either did or didn't make a deal with them.  The segment will air Sunday, January 28, at 10 p.m. on ABC.

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