Spirited Battle For East Side Tasting Patio On Hold, Pulled From City Council Agenda

Rob Schulten of Fifth State Distillery.

UPDATE: Fifth State Distillery instructed city officials on Friday to pull the agenda item for Tuesday’s scheduled vote. Several City Council members say the votes were there for approval but it’s unclear if the owner applicants are acquiescing to ongoing neighborhood opposition to bring back the proposal in another form, or that it’s dead. Bridget Schulten, co-owner of Fifth State Distillery, had no comment when contacted by OIB on Saturday.

Original story.

The Monday night fights will take place Tuesday in celebration of the July 4th carry over which could include some lingering fireworks at the still-virtual City Council session.

On the agenda is a resolution for a portion of 80 Hastings Street to allow a seasonal outdoor tasting and picnic area for Fifth State Distillery, a city-based business that produces locally sourced spirits.

City Councilwoman Maria Pereira has drummed up neighborhood support against the proposal including 70 signatures that forced a state Liquor Control Commission hearing to revoke Fifth State’s license (decision is pending) asserting it hasn’t followed state liquor requirements for serving patrons, something refuted by the Peter Berdon, lawyer for owner-applicant Rob Schulten.

And Pereira’s witnesses admitted under questioning from Berdon they never witnessed the Schultens serving in excess of their allowed spirits samples.

Berdon accused Pereira of rehearsing witnesses’ testimony for the hearing, adding the neighborhood property is suitable for light-industrial zoned usage.

“To a ‘t’ the respondents’ testimony was identical,” Berdon said, according to the Connecticut Post. “I suggest to you that, maybe in terms of an issue of credibility, when it’s rehearsed that well, maybe that testimony is not credible.”

A number of those witnesses are scheduled to speak out about the proposal during Tuesday’s public speaking portion of the council meeting starting 6:30 p.m. including Pereira and Michele Small who is eying a City Council seat this election cycle.

Pereira will speak about the “egregious conduct” of Deputy Director of Economic Development Bill Coleman (and others) who support the Fifth State proposal. Coleman testified during the state hearing “I feel it’s been a good business to work with.”

The council meeting will be conducted by teleconference. The public may listen by calling the following conference line and then entering the conference code:
Dial-In Number: (929) 436-2866
Meeting ID: 381 083 245

Okay everyone, poise your talking points.



  1. Ok. Is this a real issue or Amadeus up issue?
    Is zMaria fighting for the neighbors or is she fighting just to have a fight?
    Discuss amongst yourselves.

  2. The distillery is located in a child-dense, residential neighborhood with a lot of (child) foot and bicycle traffic traversing a maze of small, narrow residential streets between the distillery and the main roads (E. Main and Boston Avenue) which would permit access from I-95, Route 8, and Route 15 for the ALCOHOL-BASED drinking/tasting parties/picnics that would be an integral part of the revenue stream/promotional efforts of Fifth State Distillery. Doesn’t seem like a very good idea for Bridgeport from a Public Safety/Public Health perspective…

    While it is refreshing to have a new manufacturing concern in town, the marriage of the manufacturing aspect of the business to a “hospitality aspect” at the same location doesn’t work in that neighborhood (especially considering that they will be in competition with gang-controlled speak-easies already operating within blocks of that location…).

    Wouldn’t it be nice to have a Fifth State Tavern and Restaurant downtown — maybe in Bijou Square — and keep the manufacturing-operations site as such (already appropriately zoned)?…

    Nice To have Fifth State making a quality, legal product in Bridgeport, but the booze-garden aspect is simply inappropriate for that location…

  3. Come on Jeff. Give it a break. Using that logic there would be no places in this city for any development. Residential neighborhood. Little kids running around. Kids on bikes.
    It’s that mindset that causes no development in the Port.

  4. I guess Maria will be happy when Fifth Street pulls up and moves out of Bpt, cause that is what’s going to happen if this gets denied.

  5. Let’s see. An industrial use would bring all kinds of trucks. UPS, FEDEX, Prime and Amazon for daily deliveries. Some times two or three times a day. Then you have bigger trucks and even 18 wheelers. You have workers coming and going and visitors or sales people stopping buy. All that traffic is no problem. But a whiskey tasting patio!!! My God!! We must stop it even with no proof of these monstrous parties we are now told about.
    Sounds like a personal issue with Maria that has been blown out of proportions.

    1. I guess if the truck drivers are drunk — if they at stop at the Whiskey Tasting Patio for lunch and to indulge in their return cargo — then your comparison is valid…

  6. Great Maria, nice way to communicate to business owners that Bridgeport is a difficult area for small businesses to do business. The block has metal, granite, and marble related businesses and a church but you target this growing small business. The points about the distillery are complete fabrications and lies. So I guess you want to lose business to Stratford just like Two Roads. Great was to be anti-business!


Leave a Reply