Tree House Brewing buys former Channing Bete headquarters in Deerfield; event space project announced in November

Tree House Brewing Co. bought the former Channing Bete headquarters, manufacturing and warehouse space on Route 5 in South Deerfield for $4.25 million. The transaction, recorded Dec. 30 at the Franklin County Registry of Deeds, follows Tree House’ November announcement that it plans to open a tap room and more at the location sometime in the summer of 2021 depending on COVID-19 restrictions.

Tree House is a beer brand with a devoted following of customers who happily wait in long lines to buy. But Tree House didn’t have space for festivals and events at its Charlton headquarters. That’s the plan for Deerfield, according to the message put out in November. The 41-acre former Channing Bete property was owned until December by CBC Realty Holding LLC, a company controlled by former Channing Bete Co. President Michael G. Bete. The 97,200-square-foot headquarters includes manufacturing, warehouse and office space along with a large solarium that was once a worker cafeteria. The property was listed at an asking price of $6.75 million.

Channing L. Bete Sr. founded the company in 1954. It was known for its informative pamphlets and other materials on a dizzying variety of health, financial, educational and social services topics. Most of those pamphlets included a simplified human figure that became the company’s calling card. But Channing Bete couldn’t compete with electronic media, and the Bete family announced in April 2019 they would wind down operations by June of that year. The company had just over 100 employees when it shut down. Channing Bete built its headquarters in 1979 to accommodate as many as 400 workers.

Tree House also has announced plans to open a new waterfront taproom on Cape Cod. Co-founders Nate Lanier, Damien Goudreau and Dean Rohan started in Brimfield in 2011 before moving to Monson in 2013 and operating at Koran Farm. In 2017 the brewery moved to a 55,000-square-foot brewery in Charlton.

In 2018, the company added a 16,000-square-foot expansion to its retail shop and brewery, several outdoor spaces and an on-site trail system. A year later, Tree House purchased a working farm in Connecticut with over 60 acres to operate the Tree House Orchard & Farm Fermentory.