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Clocktown Brewing Company
Philip Dutton

Clocktown Brewing Company

Pouring new life into the present, while honoring the past

By Linda Tuccio-Koonz

Timing is everything. Especially when you’re gutting part of a century-old building to open a brewery. 

Not to mention, the cavernous brick structure was home to the historic Seth Thomas Clock Factory in Thomaston—and the project is ticking forward in the midst of a pandemic.

“My business partner and his family owned the building for close to 40 years,” says Ed Daigneault, of the complex where Clocktown Brewing Company now stands.

“When I first saw it, I just thought it was huge. There was a bunch of machinery in an unused portion in the back; it was essentially a junkyard.” 

Daigneault’s friend, George LaCapra Jr., and his wife, Stacy, envisioned that section as a lively brewery/restaurant. They invited him to be their partner, along with LaCapra Jr.’s dad, and extensive renovations ensued.

Clocktown Brewing Company opened in October 2020. Daigneault, who came up with the name, says he couldn’t imagine it being anything else. After all, clockmaker Seth Thomas (1795-1859) is Thomaston’s namesake. 

Clocktown Brewing Company
Philip Dutton

“It seemed appropriate,” he says. “A lot of breweries are in old industrial buildings, but this one’s got quite a history.”

Thomas, a Wolcott native, started his business in 1813 in Plymouth Hollow (renamed Thomaston in 1865). Expansion continued when his sons took ownership. As new styles were introduced, other companies became involved and eventually took over.

The Thomaston plant closed in 1970, but Seth Thomas clocks are still renowned for their craftsmanship, including the four-faced masterpiece above the information booth in New York’s Grand Central Terminal. (You know, it’s the one in the brass tower. You’ve seen it in films from Superman to Men in Black.)

“Growing up, just about everyone had a Seth Thomas clock in their classroom,” says Daigneault, recalling the white-faced clocks that ticked the school day away. 

A Watertown resident, he and LaCapra Jr. became pals when their daughters played soccer together, and have long shared a love of craft beer. Daigneault, formerly a sportswriter for Waterbury’s Republican-American, has been crafting his own for over a decade. 

“I mentioned to my wife that I’d be interested in trying to make beer at home. She brought me a home-brew kit for Christmas; it took off from there.” 

LaCapra Jr. is president of UniMetal Surface Finishing, based in the building where Clocktown Brewery operates. When he first asked Daigneault to join the brew business, Daigneault thought he was kidding. 

“It was at a mutual friend’s birthday party, ironically at a brewing company,” he says. As you can imagine, “there’s a very steep learning curve when you go from brewing five gallons of beer in your garage to producing 300 gallons at a time in a commercial setting.” 

But everything fell into place, especially after recruiting Chris Sheeler, formerly of Two Roads Brewing Co. in Stratford, as head brewer. “I’ve been learning from him,” Daigneault says. “He’s a godsend.”

Between their wide variety of beers (several with time/clock-themed names), ample space for indoor/outdoor seating, and the airy, hint-of-steampunk atmosphere, Clocktown has found success despite the pandemic. They also serve up everything from burgers to pizza, along with live music and trivia nights. 

“A number of people have come into this building and said, ‘I used to work here and this is just amazing,’” Daigneault says. “Yesterday a woman from my church said she grew up in Thomaston and half her family worked in the clock factory at one point or another. She was happy to hear not only that we’re open, but that we’re having success in making use of this building.”

Descendants of Thomas have visited, too, and say they love what’s been done.

“I’m touched by the number of people who’ve told me this is one of the best things to have happened to Thomaston,” Daigneault says. “It might be a little bit of hyperbole, but it’s good to hear.”
135 S Main St # 3, Thomaston

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