Brewery drops plans for old Bristol Press building

Published on Monday, 27 August 2018 21:29


BRISTOL - Better Half Brewing no longer plans to open in the former Bristol Press building and is now looking for a spring 2019 opening at the old CVS on North Main Street.

Michael and Rachel Haseltine had said in June that they intended to open a “fun space for couples to socialize together and enjoy drinks.”

They originally aimed to set up operations at 99 Main St., the former home of The Press. They started an online Kickstarter drive to raise $40,000, but were unable to reach their goal.

Justin Malley, executive director of the Bristol Development Authority, said he spoke last Wednesday with the Haseltines and learned that they were still planning on moving forward with the project.

“The biggest hurdle they face is obtaining enough funding to finance the project,” he said. “The former Bristol Press building is no longer the planned location. But they told me that they are still committed to Bristol and they want to pursue a space here.”

Michael Haseltine confirmed that he and his wife are now looking at the former CVS at 59 N. Main St.

“We’re looking to open in early spring,” he said. “We’re just working out the logistics to move forward.”

Haseltine noted that the new planned location is larger than the original brewery would have been. The new space will be 9,000 square feet.

Haseltine previously stated his goal was to create an atmosphere with a brewery that “brings people together and represents the male and female demographic.”

For the original brewery location, he and his wife planned to have board games, Jenga and cornhole that people could play while there. He said Monday that he still hopes to have this sort of an atmosphere at the new location.

“We want this to be a place that people can come to with their partner, can come to in order to meet their partner or can come to in order to relax and play games with friends and family,” Haseltine said.

The idea for Better Half Brewing came about because Michael and Rachel Haseltine wanted to spend more time together, they said.

Rachel Haseltine is a Bristol native and third-grade teacher in Hartford. Michael Haseltine works at ESPN and has lived in Bristol for the past 13 years. The two began brewing and testing beers four years ago. Now they are ready to make a career out of it.

“We work opposite shifts so we don’t spend much time together,” said Rachel Haseltine. “When we do have time together, we enjoy craft beers, the atmosphere of breweries and meeting new people. This was created out of a desire to spend more time together.”

Michael Haseltine said that the two have traveled to breweries in California, Florida, Vermont and Canada.

“It was something that we felt we could duplicate and do for a living,” he said. “It would be a work environment that would allow us to work together. I’ve also noticed that there really isn’t something with the sort of atmosphere we want in Bristol.”

Michael Haseltine has said that there will be a wide range of beers, from fruited beers, made with fruit from local farms, which he will brew, to hoppy beers, which Rachel Haseltine will brew. There also will be IPAs (India pale ale), stouts and porters.

For more information on Better Half Brewing, visit or

Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or

Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol, General Business on Monday, 27 August 2018 21:29. Updated: Monday, 27 August 2018 21:32.