Local Family Taps Rail to Feed Booming Microbrew Business

BARTON – A family trucking company based in Troy, and Vermont rail companies, have joined forces to open a new rail yard in Barton handling raw materials (bulk grains) for the burgeoning micro-brew industry across the Northeast.

In the process, Couture Trucking, Inc., has created 26 jobs and hopes to see more businesses at the new Barton Rail Transload Facility industrial park on May Farm Road.

The new bulk loading station will allow Couture Trucking, known as CTI, to bring in dry goods, like malted barley from Europe and Wisconsin, needed by area breweries. The grain is stored in the new silver silos, then loaded into CTI trucks to be shipped to breweries in Vermont, Maine and New York state.

Among their customers: well-known names in the brewing industry like Long Trail and Otter Creek. “We serve breweries in Maine, New York, and Vermont,” CTI’s Dwayne Couture said. “This will allow our family business to grow,” CTI’s Couture said. While the facility currently ships barley, Couture said if the opportunity presents itself, they can move other commodities through this facility as well.

David Wulfson, president of Vermont Rail System, said the new bulk loading station reinforces railroad jobs, and expands the availability of rail to local businesses. Moving freight by rail cuts truck traffic, and is the most cost-effective and efficient way to move goods to market. He said this method reduces the number of trucks on the highways too.

“This transload facility opens up opportunities for business in northern Vermont, Quebec, and the northern corridor,” Wulfson said. “From Barton, the stuff goes all over the east coast to the Mississippi River and Gulf Coast.”

A $200,000 Northern Borders grant was used to finance the bulk load station, which will benefit businesses across northeastern Vermont and even in southern Quebec, he said.

The property’s development was a partnership, officials said. CTI bought the land and prepared it for the Barton Rail Transload Facility. Washington County Railroad leased the transload station part of the property, and built and own the silos and loading station, officials said. CTI operates the facility.

Dan Delabruere of the Vermont Agency of Transportation said this facility meets a lot of agency goals and contributes to job growth, “particularly in the Northeast Kingdom, where we really need it.”

Railroad service will continue to grow in the future, according to Wulfson. He said as long as rail is the most economical way to move goods, access points like the Barton transload station will stimulate industry growth.

“The railroad’s largest competitor is the trucking industry,” Wulfson said. “And they’re our best partners. Facilities like this make that happen.”

EDITED AND USED WITH PERMISSION, By Robin Smith, (Orleans County Record) – December 2016