White Lion Brewing Co., Marcus Camby team up on future Amherst brewhouse

  • White Lion Brewing released the Marcus Camby New England IPA in January at the brewery in Springfield. CONTRIBUTED

Staff Writer
Published: 5/24/2022 8:57:53 AM

AMHERST — Marcus Camby, whose standout basketball career as part of the University of Massachusetts Minutemen is recognized with a statue outside the Mullins Center, is working with White Lion Brewing Company to bring a nano brewhouse to downtown Amherst in the fall.

The Springfield company announced Wednesday that the Connecticut native and retired NBA player, with whom it partnered to create the Marcus Camby New England IPA in January, will continue the relationship with the development of a site, in vacant retail space at 104 North Pleasant St., that will offer products such as one-time experimental ales, a test kitchen, a taproom and an outdoor social space.

Mike Yates, White Lion’s business partner and head brewer, said in a statement that the company’s brand in Springfield is built on the community’s fabric creating a diverse, inclusive, and fun place to be, and that the hope is to replicate this in Amherst.

“I built much of my professional brewing career here and I look forward to bringing brewing back to downtown Amherst,” said Yates, a UMass graduate.

The announcement came in advance of a meet and greet with Camby and White Lion representatives at The Drake performance venue, at 44B North Pleasant, with light food provided by Bistro 63. The Drake is just a few doors south of the future White Lion nano brewhouse.

The idea of White Lion coming to Amherst center has been three years in the making, following discussions with Ray Berry, its founder and president, said Gabrielle Gould, executive director of the Amherst Business Improvement District.

“The Amherst BID’s vision is to curate businesses that complement our already outstanding and loved small businesses,” Gould said. “This is just the beginning as we rebuild and create a vibrant downtown for residents, scholars, and visitors to enjoy over and over again.”

In a statement, Camby said it was important to engage the greater Amherst community, use his career relationships to enhance the downtown Amherst experience and to work with UMass “and the local education community to create opportunities for the next generation of leaders.”

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.

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