Members of the Tkac family as they were renovating an old 120 year-old firehouse to open Bad Dog Brewing Company. Photo submitted.
Members of the Tkac family as they were renovating an old 120 year-old firehouse to open Bad Dog Brewing Company. Photo submitted.
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TORRINGTON — After two years of hard work in renovating a 120-year-old former firehouse, Bad Dog Brewing Company has opened on 117 Water Street.
The company is owned by the Tkac family of Bristol: Matt Tkac, his wife Michele, their son Chris, and their daughter Emily.
The business officially opens its doors on Saturday, Jan. 30. However, it previously had a soft opening the week before.
Matt Tkac was previously an engineer with his own company before he and his family started Bad Dog Brewing Company.
“We started brewing beer at home and we enjoyed it,” Tkac said in an interview with The Winsted Phoenix. “My son found his passion in brewing beer, and then we started talking about opening this up. We wanted a place with a feel of character, space, and history. This firehouse provides all of that.”
Tkac said that fixing up the old firehouse for two years was like “This Old House on steroids.”
“We found a lot of things in this firehouse that we were able to save, including fire extinguishers, fire equipment, and a fire truck,” Tkac said. “It was a big learning experience for us. The people at City Hall helped with a lot of different facets and they have been terrific and very supportive. They explained to us how to do certain things and what we needed to do. It has been a complete team effort.”
Tkac said that the fire fighting artifacts, including the fire truck and equipment, are on display on the first floor of the building, along with pictures of firefighters.
“We’re trying not to be a museum, but instead be a historical reference to what this building was and what firefighting stands for, along with a representation of the people who do this job day in and day out,” Tkac said. “We want to pay respect to the first responders. They do a job that, in my humble opinion, is utterly amazing, day in and day out.”
Tkac said that the second floor has a lounge-type atmosphere.
“It’s still a brewery, but eventually we will have couches, and we will invite local artists to bring their art in and display it for potential customers,” he said. “It’s going to be a community center to have a good time.”
As for the beer itself, Tkac said that the family has a “small batch” philosophy when it comes to brewing beer.
“You go to some of these breweries and you see this massive five-barrel, ten barrel, seven-barrel systems, but we have a two-barrel system,” he said. “What we did do is buy a lot of fermenters so we can make lots of varieties and interesting types of beer. We can turn it all around very quickly. So this weekend at our grand opening we are planning to have 11 beers on tap of our own.”
Tkac said that they plan to offer crowlers in a few weeks after the Jan. 30 opening.
“We will offer them in a 32-ounce resealable can, which is great because you won’t have to drink it all at once,” Tkac said.
As for the name “Bad Dog,” Tkac said that “there’s no such thing as a bad dog.”
“We have two huskies and a massive labrador crossbreed,” Tkac said. “Two of those are rescues and they are just part of our lives. I believe that dogs and breweries go very well together.”
For more information on Bad Dog Brewing Company, including hours of operation, go to their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/baddogbrewingco/

Photos via Bad Dog Brewing Company’s Facebook page.
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