After many years of combined brewing and restaurant experience and a lot of blood, sweat and tears, owners Todd and Jenny Sakowski chose Niantic as the perfect spot to open their dream business – Niantic Public House and Brewery.
This small town brewery crafts unique ales and lagers 100 gallons at a time. They also offer Connecticut-made wine and cider. With 1,500 square feet of high energy taproom space, they have worked hard to create a comfortable gathering space for you, your family and friends. You’ll find plenty of parking as well as a 1,000 square foot patio, perfect for spending a couple of carefree hours.
They have made the turtle their mascot with the motto “Behold the turtle – he only makes progress by sticking his neck out.”
Todd is the brewer at Niantic Public House, assisted by Daniel Cave. Jenny – affectionately referred to as the boss – works behind the scenes. The mastermind behind the taproom is manager Madison Cullers. Jenny says, “Our incredible staff also includes Waterford teacher Dana Carr and her husband Brendan Yourell, along with Madison’s husband Jake and her sister KK. We recently had George join the team, and he fits right in. When we say we are family, we really mean it!”
Todd started to home-brew when he attended Eastern CT State University. He learned much from his mentor, Paul Zocco of Zok’s Homebrew Shop, and David Wollner of Willimantic Brewing Co. Later, he completed professional brewing courses at Siebel Institute of Technology. Prior to opening the brewery, Todd worked as a Quality Engineer in the aerospace manufacturing industry. He now dedicates himself full-time to the business. Jenny earned a business degree from Endicott College in Massachusetts, and she currently works full-time at Electric Boat during the day.
With nearly twenty years of home brewing under his belt, Todd envisioned opening his own brewery. Jenny has extensive experience running restaurants. Together, they’re a dynamic duo! When they settled down and were expecting their son, John Michael, they decided it was time to make Todd’s dream a reality. With a lot of help from family and friends (and more than a few pints!), they opened their business in the fall of 2018.
While they initially considered Mystic for their location, Niantic ultimately was an easy choice. It met all of their criteria for being near the water and in a downtown location with plenty of great independently owned restaurants nearby. And it seemed that the community was ready for a brewery on Main Street.
Jenny says, “We aim to release a new beer every week. Todd’s forte is German and Belgian styles, but he also experiments with varieties across an impressively wide range. The goal is to be able to offer a beer for everyone. Whether you like pale, dark, dry, sweet, hoppy, bitter, sour, fruity or anything in between, we hope to have you covered.”
Jenny and Todd have worked hard to create a traditional public house feel, a place where people can chill with a beer and gather with friends. Jenny says, “We have folks who come in with board games and a pizza and order beer, settled in for a fun evening. Others just drop in for one beer on their way someplace else.” They encourage patrons to bring in their own food from local restaurants.
As soon as you walk into the brewery, you will be warmly welcomed by the art on the walls, painted by local artist Jacob Cullers. Jacob is a professor at Rhode Island School of Design and Three Rivers. He enjoys spending his free time pouring pints at the brewery, updating the murals and creating the beer can art. The art does change from time to time, and Jenny and Todd give Jacob complete artistic freedom. His most recent piece, a spray painted replica of Starry Night is in memory of Jenny’s brother, Anthony McCarthy, who took his life in 2002.
Jenny shared, “Covid-19 has brought challenges we never could have expected. We are so thankful for our loyal customers who have steadfastly supported us through all of the crazy rules and changes that flowed down to small businesses through CDC and state guidelines. Our goal first and foremost has always been to keep our staff and patrons safe.”
Todd and Jenny have enjoyed being a part of the Niantic community, where they have received support from so many, including State Representative Holly Cheeseman, East Lyme Zoning and local business owners. They are on tap at Lillian’s Café, and you can find their beer on the shelves at Mermaid Liquors and Village wines on Main Street.
The team at Niantic Public House and Brewery have embraced their role as an integral part of the community. They sponsor many events throughout the year that raise money for local organizations and important causes, including the Brian Dagle Foundation, Niantic Children’s Museum, Niantic Main Street, veteran needs, Little Pink Houses of Hope, a charity providing support for families affected by breast cancer, and The Turtle’s Back, a local turtle rehab and conservation charity. Jenny says, “We gotta protect our mascot, y’know?” She added, “We like to support organizations that are important to our employees.”
Jenny and Todd constantly consider expansion possibilities. Their goal is to have a second location focused on brewing larger batches for canning and distribution. The Niantic location will remain the face of the business.
Their Friday, September 3 Out of the Darkness Fundraiser for the American Federation for Suicide Prevention will feature the Par 4 Curbside Catering food truck from 4 to 8 p.m. and a raffle. Special prizes include a night’s stay at Foxwoods Resort and Casino as well as gift baskets from local businesses. The brewery will also be donating $1.00 from every pint sold. It’s a great opportunity to enjoy a fun evening and support an important cause.
The Niantic Out of the Darkness walk will be held on September 19. This year, Niantic Public House is teaming up with Remembering Billy to celebrate a local family. To make a donation or register to walk, visit afsp.org/niantic.
The brewery hosts ongoing special events. Test your knowledge at Trivia Night every Thursday night starting at 6:30 p.m. Teams of up to 6 are welcome. Prizes include a Niantic Public House gift card as well as giveaways from Best Trivia Ever.
Feeling creative? Every month, artist Jacob Cullers hosts a paint night. Tickets include all your painting supply needs, pizza and your first pint. Reserve a spot early, as these events typically sell out quickly.
Follow Niantic Public House and Brewery on Facebook and Instagram to stay on top of their news, events and special offerings. All veterans and active military receive $5 beer pours every day! Stop in and show your military ID.
Niantic Public House & Brewery
243 Main Street
Niantic, CT 06357
East Lyme, CT 06333
Monday and Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday and Thursday: 4pm – 8pm
Friday: 3pm – 9pm
Saturday: 1pm – 9pm
On Sundays, they close to the public and make the entire taproom available to rent for special occasions and celebrations
About Our Main Street Blogger:
Joanne lives in, and loves, our community. She was looking for an opportunity to help share all that our local businesses do to make East Lyme such a special place to call home, and she is excited to contribute to our blog. Joanne brings to the role her experience from New London Main Street where she contributed content to their website, newsletters and email communications for many years.