Tommy Gardner - Stowe Reporter
October 31, 2013

The Trapp Family Lodge family held a topping-off ceremony last Thursday, Oct. 24, to celebrate finishing the roof of the lodge’s newest addition: a 40,000-square-foot Trapp Lager Brewery building and beer hall.

Atop the massive steel framework stood an evergreen tree, flanked by Austrian and American flags — a nod to the von Trapp family’s native country and its current home.

“Topping off” is a tradition in which a tree is placed on the roof of a new building as a symbolic gesture to the forest that provided the materials. The tradition is still honored today in many parts of the world, even when new structures often favor steel girders over wooden beams.

On hand for the ceremony were current members of the von Trapp family, who served up a buffet-style lunch for a few dozen workers. “We’re past the scared stage. Now I’m on to the enjoying-it stage,” said Johannes von Trapp, president of Trapp Family Lodge.

The brewery, slated to open next summer, will include a nearly 6,000-square-foot restaurant, with an expansive view of the Green Mountains. Brew master JP Williams said the brewery will gradually ramp up production to 50,000 barrels a year. At 31 gallons to a barrel, that’s more than 1.5 million gallons — a far cry from the 60,000 gallons a year the existing brewery puts out.

Johannes von Trapp said the new venture will dovetail with the lodge and its myriad Austrian touches, including the lagers made famous by his family’s native country. “The beer will help promote the hotel, and the hotel will help promote the beer,” he said.

 

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