A celebration of perseverance: two years on, Little Red Barn still brewing great things for Winsted

Little Red Barn Brewers co-owners Matthew Day and Nils Johnson. Not pictured: co-owner Nathan Day.
Little Red Barn Brewers co-owners Matthew Day and Nils Johnson. Not pictured: co-owner Nathan Day.

WINSTED — It is hard to believe that the same building where Little Red Barn Brewers stands at 32 Lake Street was, for many years, a vacant and decrepit building that was falling apart.
For decades, the old factory building was the home of the Lambert Kay Company which went out of business in 2001.
That same year, residents at a special town meeting approved the purchase of the building for $1.
But for over 16 years after the town purchased the building, projects and proposals to renovate it all failed.
However, in the summer of 2017, Parker Benjamin Real Estate Services of Unionville submitted a proposal to renovate and purchase the building for $1,000.
The company renamed the building The Winsted Edge Works and the first tenants announced for the building was the Little Red Barn Brewers.
Brewery co-owners Matthew Day, Nathan Day, and Nils Johnson raised funds to build the brewery through a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised $34,006.
After two years of hard work and renovation, the brewery opened to great fanfare in the summer of 2019.
The ghost of Lambert Kay, and the old decrepit former factory building, became a distant memory thanks to the extensive renovations to the building.
Residents from throughout the Northwest Corner all came to frequent the brewery, day in and day out, making Little Red Barn a very busy place.
But in March 2020 the Coronavirus pandemic hit, and by the time the pandemic subsided this year, many businesses around the country, including breweries went under.
Despite the pandemic, once again, Little Red Barn Brewers persevered.
On Saturday, July 3, the brewery celebrated its anniversary.
On July 3, the brewery was bustling with residents from throughout the Northwest Corner, many of them enjoying food from SoMa food truck, and free axe throwing from Litchfield County Axe House.
It was a far cry from last year’s pandemic that left the brewery devoid of customers for months.
When asked how they got through the hardships of the pandemic, co-owner Matthew Day had a simple answer: “beer.”
“And the community,” co-owner Nils Johnson added. “Before Covid, our to-go sales were anywhere between 100 to 200 a week. During Covid, we were selling 700 cans a week. People in the community were buying cans and they told us ‘We don’t even drink, but you are too important to this town to fail.’ Beer might have gotten us numb at times, but it was the community that got us through the pandemic.”
“Every day I look around and I am amazed that we have gotten so much great support,” Matthew Day said. “The town has been great to us.”
“To me, the support that the residents of Winsted have given us is humbling,” Johnson added. “When I did my business study, the makeup of this does not meet any national average. This has truly become a community center. It is not based on age, race, religion, sexual orientation, it all doesn’t matter when you walk through that door. It’s an amazing feeling. We are all truly humbled by the support and thank you just doesn’t seem to be enough.”
“I would hug everyone who has supported us if I could,” Matthew Day said.
For more information on Little Red Barn Brewers, including operating hours, visit https://www.facebook.com/Littleredbarnbrewers/

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