Cisco Brewers looks to make a splash at Stamford’s The Village

The next chapter of Cisco Brewers’ whale of a tale is being written in Stamford, as the craft brewery readies for a July 4 grand opening at The Village.

With “sneak peeks” taking place every weekend, fans and newcomers to the Nantucket brand can sample the likes of Wandering Hazy IPA, Dock Lager, and Whale’s Tale Pale Ale.

“The sneak peeks are our preopening phase that provide us with an opportunity to train, test and get ready for our grand opening,” CEO Jay Harman told the Business Journal.

Cisco, the only brewer on Nantucket Island, was established in 1995 by Randy and Wendy Hudson as a sister company to Nantucket Vineyard, which is separately owned. Its annual sales are estimated by Dun & Bradstreet as $8.2 million; it was acquired in 2018 for $32 million by Craft Brew Alliance.

Cisco is in expansion mode, growing from three breweries to five this year, including Stamford and one in New Bedford, Massachusetts, which likewise is expected to open on Independence Day. Covid dashed original plans to open both last summer.

“Connecticut has always been a popular spot for Cisco brands, especially Fairfield County, so it just made sense,” Harman said. “And I like Stamford’s proximity to New York City, Greenwich and Westport, where a chunk of our fans are from. Stamford also has a little edge to it, which makes it funky and unique. It’s sort of a melting pot of finance and urban hipsters.

“We find that our venues attract all walks of life — locals, tradesmen, families, you name it.”

The Village, a 133,000-square-foot facility at 860 Canal St., is being marketed by the Wheelhouse conglomerate as an indoor-outdoor work-play environment that is designed to bring together companies representing content and media, brands and marketing,

Other tenants include Mike’s Organic, Apicii, ITV America and Wheelhouse, a media, marketing and investment business platform. Wheelhouse founder Brent Montgomery owns the campus.

“BLT has built these incredible high-rises and there are all these bright, young professionals,” Montgomery’s wife, Courtney, CEO of Wheelhouse Properties and developer of The Village, told the Business Journal in December. “But it seemed like there was something missing, and that’s where we came in.”

“The family-friendly Fairfield County vibe and this new location on the waterfront perfectly complement our ethos, and we’re excited to welcome new and familiar faces alike to experience Cisco at The Village,” Harman said.

“Brent and the Wheelhouse team are just really great people,” he continued. “He and I got connected through some mutual Nantucket friends and we hit it off immediately. The conversations and ideas with the team have been so genuine and authentic, and it’s felt like a perfect fit since day one.

“It’s made it very easy to trust that our brand is in good hands,” Harman added, “and being in a building with Wheelhouse will be a key driver for the brand overall.”

Estimating the size of Cisco’s renovated Stamford building — it originally was a wire and cable company in the early 1900s — is difficult, Harman said, except that it is large.

The brewery “wraps around the building on the water and along the dock, so the exact square footage is hard to measure,” he said. “What you can expect is a signature waterfront experience in Stamford” that will include live music and be pet-friendly.

Given that Stamford is Cisco’s first Connecticut location, might there be more?

“We have found our home at The Village,” Harman said.