Aug 01, 2013 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
What started as a passion for home-brewing beer seven years ago is taking shape as the first farm brewery to be created in the Cazenovia area this year.
John and Maria Henneberg, owners of the Henneberg Tavern on Albany Street, are in the process of creating a micro-brewery called Henneberg Brewing Co. on their 97-acre farm in New Woodstock. The new brewing enterprise will be one with a smaller, more local scale of production versus the upcoming Empire Brewing Company farmstead brewery on Route 13 — and one less likely to cause controversy.
The Hennebergs will not only brew their beer at the new farm brewery, but they are already growing and processing hops and grains on their farm with an ultimate goal of growing 100 percent of their raw brewing materials within eight-to-10 years.
“This has always been a dream, but I never thought it was a real dream,” said John Henneberg, whose home brews were so well-made that he had a waiting list of family and friends wanting his product. About five years ago he began pushing himself to make better brews and see if his beer could be produced and sold on a bigger scale. With the opening of the Henneberg Tavern in Cazenovia last year, the idea to make and sell on tap Henneberg Brewing Co. beers at the tavern seemed even more possible.
Henneberg currently has a few acres of hops and barley planted and growing on his New Woodstock farm, which will continue to “fill out” for another four to five years, and ultimately he plans to change about 30 acres currently planted with alfalfa to barley fields, he said.
“I hope to be the only brewery in the area to grow and brew our own beer — actually I think we’ll be in the only one in New York state. As of last year, there were none,” Henneberg said.
While his own crops continue to grow, Henneberg currently buys his raw barley from a farmer in Canastota, which he malts at his New Woodstock farm.
Under New York State law, a farm brewery is one that produces less than 60,000 barrels per year using mostly locally-grown ingredients.
Henneberg currently makes about two barrels per week, with future goal to upgrade his barrel system and produce about 300 gallons per week (about 15,000 per year) — “But that’s down the road, definitely,” he said.
The Henneberg Brewing Co. will begin its production with four of Henneberg’s personal-recipe beers: a pale ale, a California Common (similar to Anchor Steam, which will be called Cazenovia Common), an Irish stout and an IPA, all of which will be sold on tap at the Henneberg Tavern, Henneberg said. There will eventually be a tasting room at the New Woodstock farm brewery hopefully in the spring, where he will be able to sell kegs, six-packs and growlers, he said.
None of Henneberg’s beers are currently available for public consumption or purchase while he waits for the necessary paperwork and licenses to be approved by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, which he hopes to receive by September. He already has received approval from the Federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, and got approval from the town of Cazenovia in April 2012.
Henneberg Brewing Co., once it is underway, will be a stop on the Cazenovia Beverage Trail along with Critz Farms Cidery, Owera Vineyards and Empire Brewing Company.
“The beverage trail is a mutually-beneficial relationship for all four partners as well as a great thing for the town,” Henneberg said.
If everything works out, Henneberg hopes to have all four of his own beers on an enlarged tap system at Henneberg Tavern by Sept. 1 — just in time for football season, he said.
“I’d like to go gung-ho and do all four at one time — I’m ready,” he said.
For more information on the Henneberg Brewing Co. visit their blog at HennebergBrewing.com, or visit the tavern’s website at hennebergtavern.com.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.