Newly Opened Taproom Supports Marathon Fundraiser

Amy Mevorach
Issue Date: 
February, 2019
Article Body: 

Barleycorn’s Craft Brew, at 21 Summer Street in Natick, has changed its name and business model to The Kells Beer Company and Eliot Taproom. Tom Wilber and Fred Kelly acquired Barleycorn’s in June 2017 after its closing in March 2017. After remodeling, updating equipment and applying for and receiving a Massachusetts Farmer-Brewery license and pour license from the town of Natick, the business reopened in January 2019.
Founded in 1998, Barleycorn’s operated as a brew-on-premise business. Brewers experienced the brewing process using recipes, equipment, and instruction provided by staff and visiting professional brewers. The Kells will continue to offer brewing facilities and will also open a taproom on Wednesdays and Thursdays 3-8pm, Fridays 1-8pm, Saturdays 11am-5pm, and Sundays 12-5pm.
“We want to offer the Natick area a craft brewery to call their own,” said Wilber, “a place shaped by customer activity and community input.” Wilber and Kelly, whose interest in beer brewing was sparked by Kelly’s father, have developed about fifteen recipes for a variety of beers such as a Pilsner with American hops, a double IPA, honey lager, and chocolate milk stout. Four beers at a time will be served on tap.
On February 23, from 4-8pm, the taproom will host one of their first community events, a fundraiser for Boston Marathon runner Katie Ring, who is a photographer and Natick resident. Ring will be raising money for Kids Connect, a local tutoring program for youth in grades 1-12. The fundraiser will include raffles and a silent auction. A portion of cider and beer sales will support Kids Connect.
What appeals to Ring most about Kids Connect is the sliding scale. “Natick has a reputation for being affluent, but not everybody is wealthy,” she said. “People are struggling financially. I don’t like that our children’s success is tied to financial wealth. With Kids Connect, all kids in the community are given access to tutoring.”
Having run the Boston Marathon himself, Wilber empathizes with the commitment Ring has made and “the daunting task of raising funds.” The Boston Athletic Association requires a commitment of $6,000 raised for the chosen charity. “It does make the miles go a little easier when you know you are helping a group in need,” Wilber said.
Ring has previously run the Boston Athletic Association half marathon, and the 11K Falmouth Road Race three times. This is her first full marathon.
Debra Sayre, Director of Kids Connect, appreciates the support. “Because of wonderful people like our runners,” she said, “we have been able to serve students regardless of their ability to contribute to the cost. The tremendous strength it takes to run a marathon is reflected in their also raising funds to help dozens of Natick youth.”