Member Highlight: Three Penny Taproom

Apr 03 2024

Member Highlight: Wes Hamilton, co-owner of Three Penny Taproom 


The original idea for Three Penny was to open a brewery or brewpub. We were actually on the verge of signing a lease for the old clothespin factory space when that plan fell apart. As we re-imagined the business to be a "craft beer bar" focused on beers that weren't found at most places we honestly just hoped we might carve-out a small niche place for ourselves in a niche market. At that time "craft beer" wasn't nearly the thing it has become; Hill Farmstead Brewery didn't exist, nor did Farmhouse in Burlington. Aside from a handful of brewpubs such as The Alchemist in Waterbury or The Shed in Stowe, how we were looking to approach beer- much more like one approaches wine than picking up a 6-pack of Bud- was more or less unheard of in Vermont. More broadly it was a trend just starting to find a small foothold in the national marketplace, but in Vermont it wasn't being done.


To say the least, we were blown away by the response folks had to what we built and were entirely unprepared to find people flocking our way not just from Burlington but from Boston and eventually beyond New England. We certainly didn't create the craft beer explosion that followed but our timing in opening moments before it was a stroke of luck that is hard to put words to. And of course as time went on and we collected national awards and recognition for our beer offerings we also heard from our community that they wanted food, and needed more space because it was too packed when they wanted to come, and then as craft beer peaked and plateaued a more inventive approach to cocktails became popular and what about occasionally having live music? 


We've tried our best since the very beginning to see and hear how the community and our patrons want to use our space, and what they want when they come to Three Penny Taproom, and of course balance those things with how we see it and what we want to be doing, and to the best of our abilities to offer the space that is needed.


The name Three Penny Taproom took its inspiration from Bertolt Brecht's play The Threepenny Opera, which among its central themes and considerations is the idea that the finer things might be available and enjoyed not just by the most privileged classes but by all of society. We've tried to continually keep that premise at the forefront of what we offer and how we provide service to our guests.tried to continually keep that premise at the forefront of what we offer and how we provide service to our guests.

Photo left to right: previous part owner, Matt McCarthy, and current part owners, Wes Hamilton (who wrote the member highlight) and Kevin Kerner.  Photo credit to Times Argus

share this