Pop-up beer garden in Kennett Square gets mixed reaction from residents

Kennett Square, Pa. (WTXF) "As someone put it, it feels like a backyard barbeque where everyone feels welcomed," said Mike Bontrager. That's how he describes The Creamery pop-up beer garden in Kennett Square. He bought the 2-acre property five years ago. He opened the family style beer garden on it just six weeks ago.

"It's where people can come together, they can hang out and they can see friends," he said.

The building operated as a condensed milk factory beginning in 1902 then became a mushroom canning plant. It sat abandoned until he bought it, bringing not just beer but food trucks, games for children and live entertainment. But not everyone is happy about it.

"Beer bottles, cups and napkins," said a woman who lives across the street from the beer garden on Birch Street. She doesn't want to be identified but says that's the trash she finds in her yard. She says the beer garden has brought a laundry list of problems.

"Parking mainly and the afterhours drinking where they come and sit in their cars, drink and throw bottles in the yards," said the woman.

Other neighbors and business owners have put out no parking signs claiming beer garden customers block driveways taking all the street parking.
Others say the good outweighs the bad though.

"We do get traffic but the building that was there prior was an eyesore and now it is something nice to look at," said Janet DiFilippo. Doors down from her, Jose Medrano says, "I enjoy the music, the food and it's friendly."

Others are concerned about alcohol in the small borough.

"We have a lot of restaurants, a lot of alcohol served there and a lot of alcohol venues. And we're expanding that every day as we speak," said Charla Watson.

Bontrager says he's provided signs warning customers about parking and hasn't received any noise violations.

"Our attitude from the beginning is we did not want this to be a bar. We wanted this to be a place where every age and demographic could feel like it's their place," he said.

The Creamery is open Thursday through Saturday with longer hours on the weekend. It has a temporary zoning approval from the borough. It runs through the end of the year. That's when officials will decide if it stays or goes.