Plans are in the works for a brewpub to open in Stoughton. Over the past six months, retired Air Force pilot Vik Malling has been focused on developing a business plan and getting the necessary city approvals.
Malling wants to open Viking Brewpub in the old Tobacco Junction Warehouse building at 515 East Main St. in Stoughton. That building and more than a dozen others in the community were once a center of a thriving economy based on tobacco. More recently the building has been home to a tavern called Stella & Pugsley's Speakeasy, which closed in 2009. The space is currently used by the Stoughton Center for the Performing Arts, which is in the process of moving.
Malling's plans call for the installation of a new seven-barrel brewhouse in the century-old building. "I've had a lot of people tell me they are thirsty," he says, and that "they'd like to see something like this in Stoughton."
Malling is hoping to renovate about 4,500 square feet of space in the first floor and basement of the building. The brewpub would be designed to look more or less like a traditional tavern. He has already secured a conditional-use permit for the project.
"The building has the old Chicago brick with a lot of character," says Malling. The space is ideal for a brewpub, he notes, because there's ample space that can be easily remodeled to house brewing equipment. Malling says he's looked at several other buildings in Stoughton and feels the Tobacco Junction Warehouse is ideal for his purposes; others would require too much investment to remodel or build out.
Malling is still working to finalize the project's financing and a lease for the building. If he can do that by early October, he'll begin construction this fall with the hope of opening within several months.
If all that falls in place, Malling will likely start by contracting with another brewery to make his beers for him, at least until he can get the brewing equipment installed and hire a brewer.
Malling, 67, is a native of Michigan. He was stationed in California while serving in the U.S. Air Force. He moved to Stoughton in 2005 to be closer to his grandchildren.
Malling's approach is that of a beer enthusiast rather than the now-common model of a home brewer (he's not one) looking to branch out. His fondness for "local" has emerged from traveling around the nation. However, he'll be hands-on in renovations and when eventually running the business.
[Editor's note: This story is corrected to note that Vik Malling is 67 years old.]