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Alchemist Responds to Closure

A popular cannery will soon close to the public.
WATERBURY, Vt. - It's a decision that caught many off guard Tuesday- the Alchemist is closing its doors to the public. The announcement posted online crashed the Alchemist's website for a time Tuesday. It wasn't an easy decision for the husband-wife team, but the company's growth over the past two years has exceeded even their wildest expectations. 

The Alchemist is usually hopping, but the line was longer than normal Wednesday. Word traveled quickly about the cannery's decision to close its retail shop and self guided tours.

One man said, "my daughter sent me a note that said last chance. I might even come back."

With an end date of November 15, time is ticking.

One visitor from New York City knows that all too well.

"We're going to stop by once on our way out to get some to pass out for Christmas gifts, but this might be it it sounds like- kind of a bummer."

Since moving to this new location, after losing the original cannery to Irene, production of the Alchemist's Heady Topper has increased six hundred percent.

Co-owner John Kimmich says, "we have gotten busier and busier and busier as these two years have gone on, and we are busier than we'd ever dreamed we'd be here."

The sheer number of people visiting the Alchemist is the biggest problem. The parking lot spills over on holidays, and neighbors, as you can tell from signs reading "keep out", aren't happy about it. Neighbors say people park and turn around all over, a point Kimmich doesn't disagree with. 

"This is not sustainable," Kimmich concedes.

Despite the closure the owners want to reassure fans that production of the beer will not change. In fact they hope to open a new, separate retail space in Waterbury going forward.

"We have come out of horrible situations in the right direction many times, and this is going to be another one of those," Kimmich says.

We spoke to town officials in Waterbury Wednesday. They said they're aware of concerns raised by neighbors, but Waterbury's Community Planner says the town did not ask the business to close its retail shop. He went on to say the Alchemist has not violated any terms of its operating permit.
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