Special to the Courier

A brewery and pub planned for downtown Madison advanced Monday with completion of the property sale by seller Peter Ellis and buyer Wade Investment Partners.

Jerry Wade, who represented the partnership at the closing, said he and his brother Larry are on a tight schedule for Mad Paddle Brewery to make its debut at the RiverRoots Music and Folk Arts Festival in June, where they plan to sell beer from a converted, refrigerated fire truck.

Beer for the festival and for the time until Mad Paddle is producing beer at 301 West St. will be brewed by New Albanian Brewing Company in New Albany using the Wades’ recipe. New Albanian does not can beer, so the Wades will use a mobile beer canning company from Michigan, Jerry Wade said. The Wades hope to have the brewery and pub open early next year.

Their agreement with Ellis gives him 60 days to move out of the former feed mill and feed store, Ellis and Jerry Wade said. Ellis has an apartment on the third floor of the building. The first floor houses West Street Art Center, a gallery and space where local artists gather on Tuesdays to draw. Ellis said all commitments for the space will be honored. He said he hopes to open the art center at another location.

Both Ellis and Jerry Wade, who represented the partnership, said it was a difficult closing that took more than two hours to work out terms.

During the next 60 days, Jerry Wade said, the closing agreement allows for some work to be done. He expects roof work and building an outdoor deck over the loading dock will be finished in two months.

Regulatory approvals for Mad Paddle Brewery will begin Monday when the Madison Plan Commission considers adding brewpubs to the zoning ordinance. The City Council must approve changes. The commission meeting is 5:30 p.m. Monday at City Hall.

If the ordinance is changed, a conditional-use permit from the Board of Zoning Appeals will be needed.

In early May, the Wades will seek liquor license approval from the county liquor board. They have a state beer and wine license but need local approval.

Before Mad Paddle can sell its first can of beer, the label and ingredients must be approved by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.

The label for Mad Paddle’s beer cans continues two themes that started with the name of the brewery. One theme is using words that have local meaning. The other is to take ideas from the Madison public. Paddles are part of the equipment in a feed mill, and the name was suggested by a local resident. The beer name, Wicket Blonde, harks back to when wicket dams, including one in Madison, were used to aid river navigation. Madison resident Charlie Rohlfing came up with the name for the beer, Jerry Wade said.

The Wades also are working on getting a broader liquor license, called a three-way, that would allow them to sell hard liquor in addition to beer and wine. The state limits how many licenses can be issued in each county, based on population. None are available in Madison, but a few years ago the General Assembly created a special type of license.

The new license is for businesses in riverfront cities and require the mayor’s signature. “We’re still working on that,” Andrew Forrester, the mayor’s aide, said Monday. “We’re excited to see them get things going. It’s a good addition (to the city) going on.”