New York State is home to 269 craft breweries, placing the state 4th in the nation in terms of the number of craft breweries. The estimated economic impact of the industry is over $2.9 million annually. (Craft Brewers Association)

The Brewers Association has been celebrating American Craft Beer Week for 12 years now, and it’s happening this week (May 15 – 21)! This weeklong tribute celebrates small and independent craft brewers throughout the United States. Here in Schuyler County, we are home to a number of unique, creative, and passionate craft breweries. From lagers to ambers to stouts to seasonal specialties, talented brewers are whipping up some fantastic suds – and we all get to enjoy the fruits of their labor!

To learn more about what makes these mad scientists tick, we asked them all the same 3 questions:

  1. What makes your brewery unique?
  2. What is the most unique/special beer that you brew and why?
  3. Do you have any exciting/interesting plans for the future?

Let’s dive right in and learn more about our awesome craft beer producers!


Grist Iron Brewing CompanyGrist Iron

4880 State Route 414, Burdett • Click here to visit their website

Guest Relations Manager Kate Fuller provided us with the story behind the suds at Grist Iron Brewing.

What makes your brewery unique?

KF: Grist Iron Brewing Company is unique in many aspects, but on the beer front it’s unique simply for the volume of styles that we brew. Our brewing can be best classified as traditional American style with some English and other European techniques thrown in. While we stick closely to the prescribed beer style guidelines, we also like to add our own unique twist to each of our beers that makes them just a tad different than the rest. We have a passion for craft beer that we want to share with everyone and our wide range of styles and flavors can satisfy any drinker, from the novice trying a craft ale for the first time to the seasoned hop heads looking for the bitter punch of an IPA.

What is the most unique/special beer that you brew and why?

KF: The most unique beer we brew is probably our Chapter 28 Table Beer. While its technical classification fits the characteristics of an English Mild, which is traditionally low in hop bitterness and high in roasted malt/caramel flavor, our Chapter 28 doesn’t completely classify into a specific style. Though it’s an extremely low ABV (alcohol by volume) beer at just below 3%, it’s as deep and dark as a stout, but manages to drink like light beer while maintaining a unique flavor profile of dark roasted malt and coffee.

Do you have any exciting/interesting plans for the future?

KF: As far as anything exciting in the future on the beer front, we just started our Taproom Series, which will be made up of an exclusive selection of small-batch beers that will only be available to enjoy at the brewery. Our current Taproom Series beer is our Aristides Ale, a session IPA named after the champion of the inaugural Kentucky Derby. We brewed this ale with a combination of Cascade and Columbia hops, mint leaves, and oak chips soaked in local Bourbon from Finger Lakes Distilling to create a citrus “mint julep” with a low ABV. We’ll also be introducing a brand new beer in July as our next Benevolence Series brew to benefit Live Like Liz, Inc., as well as expanding our barrel-aging program.

Any upcoming events that you’d like us to promote?

KF: Grist Iron will be hosting a Kick-Off to Summer Party on the Patio during Memorial Day Weekend. We’ve got a great line up of bands Friday through Monday, including our headliner, Devon Franks, a local country music recording artist who will be taking the stage on Saturday, May 27 at 7 p.m. We’ll also be featuring food specials and giveaways to help kick-off the summer season. Our Facebook page is a great place to keep on the latest in terms of our live music and special events.


Heavily Brewing CompanyHeavily Brewing Company - B

2471 Hayes Road, Montour Falls • Click here to visit their website

Co-owner Laura Lynch (wife of brewer Wayne Lynch) provided us with the story behind the suds at Heavily Brewing Company.

What makes your brewery unique?

LL: Heavily Brewing is a small batch nano brewery that specializes in featuring first class libations of the Finger Lakes.  15 beers on tap that include our own award winning brews, as well as other brews from around the Finger Lakes and NYS.  We also feature NYS produced Wines, Ciders and now distilled spirits!

We are housed in a converted/renovated dairy barn on the east hill in Montour Falls – with great Catharine Valley views and an impressive view of Shequaga Falls.

We are also becoming known for our great entertainment space on both floors and making available, with no cover charge, live music every weekend.

What is the most unique/special beer that you brew and why?

LL: Heavily is a small batch producer and we are able to fine tune brews that are made in house.  Our “Winter Seasonal” and “No Doubt Oatmeal Stout” both recently won Gold and Bronze, respectively, in a recent Finger Lakes brew competition.

Do you have any exciting/interesting plans for the future?

LL: Heavily is constantly trying to find ways to improve our offerings to keep our customers happy!  Improving our space, indoors and out, creating a selection of seasonal brews, and continuing to be an important partner in our community to spread the word about how beautiful the Finger Lakes Region truly is.

Any upcoming events that you’d like to share with our readers?

LL: Heavily has live music every weekend and starting in June, every Fri & Saturday night through Labor Day.  We will also be hosting a couple of special events through the summer and into Fall… details will be coming out shortly! Of course, our Facebook page and website are always kept up to date!)


Lucky Hare BrewingLucky Hare Brewing Company

6085 Beckhorn Road, Hector • Click here to visit their website

Owner and head brewer Ian Conboy provided us with the story behind the suds at Lucky Hare Brewing Company.

What makes your brewery unique?

IC: What makes us standout is our diverse array of beer styles that we make on a regular basis. We feel that we can cater to all palates of beer drinkers. We also focus on lower alcohol beverages being on the wine trail. It is important to us that our patrons can have more than one if they would like or to be able to try all of our beers on our ‘Everything Flight’.

What is the most unique/special beer that you brew and why?

IC: Our most special and unique beer is our TwoCan Slam Wheat Pale Ale. The grain bill is almost 20% white wheat and we heavily dry hop the wheat pale ale with over 3 pounds per barrel during post fermentation. We feel it has been one of the best beers we have ever made and are going to add it to our regular tap rotation.

Do you have any exciting/interesting plans for the future?

IC: We do! It looks like by next summer we will be expanding our brewery in beautiful Watkins Glen! We will have two brewhouses under one roof with the hopes to install a canning line.

Any upcoming events that you’d like to share with our readers?

IC: On May 20th we will be celebrating our 1 Year Anniversary at Lucky Hare’s Taproom and Property in Hector. There will be live music, food from our brand new kitchen and 10 beers on tap including our Anniversary beer named Ray Gun Set to Stun. The beer is a dry hopped sour with Ekuanot and Mosaic. It is super delicious and can’t wait to see what folks think! Follow us on Facebook for event announcements, details, and more!


Rooster Fish BrewingRooster Fish FB 2

111 North Franklin Street, Watkins Glen • Click here to visit their website

Brewer Trevor Davis provided us with the story behind the suds at Rooster Fish Brewing.

What makes your brewery unique?

TD: We are the first farm brewery in New York State. We get hop and grain from NY farms only and we use 100% Seneca Lake water to brew our beers.

What is the most unique/special beer you brew and why?

TD: It’s hard to pick just one beer as being unique or special. We have such a wide range of year-round beers, we generally keep around 11 or 12. With our seasonal beers and our experiments with cask conditioning beers we can be anywhere from 15-18 beers on tap.

Do you have any exciting/interesting plans for the future?

TD: We have some exciting changes coming for our tasting room and beer garden. New food menu in our tasting room, some new seasonal beers, and some fun cask conditioned beers.

Any upcoming events that you’d like to share with our readers?

TD: Summer events are coming soon! Keep an eye on our Facebook page and website for those event announcements!


Seneca Lake Brewing CompanySeneca Lake Brewing Company

5481 State Route 14, Dundee • Click here to visit their website

Seneca Lake Brewing Company is technically just outside of Schuyler County. But hey, it’s only 8 minutes north of Watkins Glen and they’re members of our Chamber of Commerce. So let’s just say we’ve adopted them into Schuyler County. Owner Bradley Gillett provided us with the story behind the suds at Seneca Lake Brewing Company.

What makes your brewery unique?

BG: Seneca Lake Brewing Company is New York State’s Oldest and Only dedicated cask ale brewery producing high-quality cask ales. Each batch is carefully crafted by Head Brewer George Pusins on our 8 Barrel Open fermentation brewing system (the only one of its kind in the region). Currently offering several British Style Real Ales and offering an experience like no other brewery in the region. All of our ales are served true to tradition at temperatures between 52 to 57 degrees and are also naturally carbonated.

What is the most unique/special beer that you brew and why?

BG: Our Merri Man – English IPA is a top favorite among beer enthusiasts, in today’s world of ultra hoppy, high ABV IPA’s visitors are becoming increasingly surprised that the traditional English IPA offers more of a marriage of the malt, hops, earthy tones and citrus flavors at a lower ABV level. This beer is also great to be able to provide visitors with information about how IPA’s originated.

Do you have any exciting/interesting plans for the future?

BG: Plans for the Beerocracy Pub at our main location are still proceeding, despite a few setback in terms of construction we are still gung ho about getting the Beerocracy open this summer. The Beerocracy Pub will offer a turn back in time and a traditional British Pub environment where people (and families) can come and gather, socialize enjoy some great food, beverages, soft drinks and more…Future plans for the Beerocracy Pub location include a pavilion and accommodations. Additionally, we are very excited to be bottling our ales now, our bottled ales are bottle conditioned, which means that there is a small amount of yeast and sediment in the bottle which creates the natural carbonation directly in the bottle.

Any upcoming events that you’d like to share with our readers?

  • May 15th – May 21st during Craft Beer Week, 50 cents of every pint sold will go to the Dundee Central School District.
  • May 20th – Clear a Cask for a Cause – help us clear a cask of our specially-tapped cask of Golden Ale. Proceeds will benefit the Dundee Central School District.
  • June 10th – Belmont Stakes BBQ & Garden Party (ticketed event)  – Part of the Triple Crown Event Series hosted by Seneca Lake Brewing Company, Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, Finger Lakes Distilling, Hollenbeck Film & Experiences Company.
  • Monthly dart tournament – Middle of each month, check us out on Facebook for complete details.
  • Picks & Pints every Saturday from 7-9pm, features live local music. Beginning in June, we’ll be hosting Picks and Pints on the patio on Sunday afternoons from 4-7pm as well.
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