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MDC's Queen City Loan Fund issues first loan to craft beverage venture

By PAUL FEELY
New Hampshire Union Leader

January 22. 2018 11:20PM
Jason Phelps of Ancient Fire Mead & Cider poses with three jug of his mead creations at his Londonderry home last September. From left is a juniper citrus, a mulberry plum and a chestnut honey. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)



MANCHESTER — The first beneficiary of the new Queen City Loan Fund has been revealed.

The Manchester Development Corporation (MDC) announced Monday it has closed on a $50,000 loan from the fund — established last spring following a vote by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen — to Ancient Fire Mead & Cider, a new craft beverage venture slated to open this year on South Willow Street.

Owners Jason and Margot Phelps plan to open Ancient Fire — a small craft brewer of meads and ciders — at 8030 S. Willow St. Building 1, Unit 7-2. The Phelps have been brewing at home for more than 15 years and won several awards for their creations, according to information supplied by the MDC.

The Phelps are expected to use the $50,000 in financing to help open their new business in 2,700-square-feet of warehouse space, expected to include a production facility and tasting room offering Ancient Fire beverages and a light menu.

“Manchester Development Corporation is pleased to have closed on the first Queen City Loan Fund loan with Jason and Margot Phelps of Ancient Fire Mead & Cider,” said David Eaton, chairman of the Manchester Development Corporation. “Manchester Development Corporation has a long history of supporting businesses in Manchester and Ancient Fire Mead & Cider is a welcome addition to the growing Manchester economy. We wish them great success as their business continues to grow.”

“We are very excited to be partnering with MDC and the city of Manchester on our venture to bring mead and cider production to the city,” said the Phelps in a joint statement. “The Queen City Loan Fund program will allow us to create an engaging experience, multiple exciting product lines and add to the growth of booming local craft beverage industry. Manchester continues to be world renowned for its manufacturing so we could not think of a better home for Ancient Fire Mead & Cider.”

City aldermen approved the new Queen City Loan Fund last spring. The Queen City Loan Fund (QCLF) was created to provide new and existing Manchester businesses access to debt capital for growth or expansion.

According to information provided to aldermen at the time by the MDC, the fund will be limited in size to $500,000. No single borrower will receive a loan larger than $75,000, and no more than 25 percent of the portfolio will be concentrated in restaurant loans. The MDC will not be the sole or primary lender.

The Capital Regional Development Council in Concord will serve as the underwriter for the loans — or an outside underwriter if approved by a vote of the MDC board — and the Manchester Economic Development Office (MEDO) services most loans, unless an outside servicer receives the approval of the MDC board.

The MDC board votes on all loan recommendations prepared by the underwriter. MEDO collects all loan payments and provides reports to the MDC and Board of Mayor and Aldermen. All loan payments that are delinquent for at least 30 days will be transferred for collection.

The loans typically provide “gap” financing to help cover the difference between available private financing and the total amount needed for qualifying proposals.


MDC investments have been used to finance the rehabilitation of downtown Manchester landmarks such as the Chase Block, the Dunlap Building and the McQuade’s Building, as well as the expansion of Benefit Strategies on Elm Street. MDC financing was also used in the development of the Hilton Garden Inn and the rehabilitation of La Quinta Inn and Suites.

MDC helped facilitate the sale of the Gateway Parcel on Granite Street where Giorgio’s Restaurant and Dunkin’ Donuts opened.

pfeely@unionleader.com


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