Smile Politely

Triptych’s “work of art” in danger

Triptych Brewing, a Savoy-based brewing company, is in the midst of a permit challenge from Savoy residents. Dr. Joe Snell of Snell Chiropractic in Savoy has allegedly initiated the challenges.

According to Triptych’s Facebook page, Dr. Snell, a Mahomet resident, “has taken it upon himself to use scare tactics and misinformation to cajole our neighbors into signing a petition that would have Savoy deny our required operating permits.”

The local brewery, initially funded by a Kickstarter campaign, will participate in a public hearing at 7 p.m. Monday night at the Savoy Municipal Center, located at 611 N Dunlap, regarding their special use permit with the Village of Savoy.

Triptych, by name, is founded on the three essential components of its beer: barley, hops, and water and is also representative of the towns it wishes to immediately serve: Champaign, Savoy, and Urbana.

In a February Smile Politely Feature Article, head brewer Anthony Benjamin said that with Triptych he wanted to “combine [himself], beer, and [the] community.”

It seems that one of its three-part formula is now lagging behind.

Anthony Benjamin had this to say about the recent troubles with their permit:

Smile Politely: Can you explain what permits you’re required to have for your operation?

Anthony Benjamin: There are two permits that we need to be able to open the tasting
room. One is a special use permit and the other is a liquor license. As part of the special use permit application, a notice gets sent around to everyone within a 250-foot radius of the property (not counting public roadways or easements). The notice is pretty brief; it simply informs the property owner that a petitioner is looking for a special use permit for a tavern use, that we would be brewing beer for on-site sale and sale to restaurants/bars. In addition to that notice, we also sent a notice to everyone who was notified giving them a lot more details about what we were actually planning for the tasting room.

SP: Things seemed to be on a roll after a successful Kickstarter campaign. Did this issue with Dr. Snell and the petition develop quickly?

Benjamin: We kept in touch with Village officials and everything seemed to be going okay. We received notification that Dr. Snell had some concerns. We contacted him and his receptionist informed us that, while he didn’t have concerns, he thought some area business owners might. We began canvassing the neighborhood and it turns out that Dr. Snell was going around talking to business owners and residents both, telling them that we would be open all hours of the night (in spite of the fact that we’ve announced no operating hours), that our customers would be dropping cans and bottles all over the neighborhood (even though the vast majority of our sales would be by the sample glass or by the growler), and that our customers would be drunkards driving all over their yards and their children. Our continued attempts to contact Dr. Snell have been ignored.

So something that was going to be pretty straightforward has turned into a bigger issue and we have been advised to bring as many supporters to the hearing as possible because it is likely that Dr. Snell will be doing the same.

SP: What are the possible outcomes after the public hearing tomorrow? What steps will you need to take next in either of those scenarios?

Benjamin: Either way, the request will go before the Village’s board of Trustees in May, which is another meeting where we will have to get our supporters to come out. I imagine the trustees will be less inclined to support it if the Planning Commission doesn’t vote to recommend it.

Dr. Snell had not returned Smile Politely’s calls or emails at the time of publication.

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