On Friday, November 20, the Upstate Institute and Good Nature Brewing treated the Colgate community to sandwiches as they discussed their ambitious plans for the construction of a new brewery. Before diving into the logistics, Carrie Blackmore ’08 and Matt Whalen (the husband and wife duo that owns Good Nature Brewing) gave a little background on their company’s rapid growth.
Founded in December 2010 as a small operation, Good Nature Brewing opened their original tasting room and brewery in January 2012. The company made history in February 2013 when they became New York state’s first farm brewery. As a farm brewery, Good Nature Brewing is able to serve pints of beer and has a satellite branch office downtown. Between its founding and now, Good Nature Brewing’s ranks have increased its employees from two to ten.
After giving a brief history, Blackmore explained her company’s mission – to focus on using locally-sourced raw materials and to collaborate with local farmers, artists and farm businesses. With Good Nature Brewing’s new status as a farm brewery, a state-of-the-art brewery is in the planning stages, with support from Colgate’s Upstate Institute and the State Government of New York. The new brewery will be located just south of Colgate’s townhouses, where the community garden is currently situated. It will be a 6,000 foot structure with a stone base to fit in with the familiar Colgate aesthetic.
In the new structure, there will be a brewing facility, a lab, an ancillary tasting room, a small kitchen for those visiting Good Nature Brewing, offices and a shipping department needed for the sales of Good Nature’s product across the Northeast region.
Along with the large new building, a “beer garden” with herbs, spices, fruits and vegetables used in the brewing process will also be constructed. Within the Central New York region, Good Nature Brewing’s new farm brewery will be the first of its kind, presumably driving tourism to the town of Hamilton and its surrounding towns. It will have a greater focus on retail business, events, hospitality and education, and this space will be able to offer more than a typical microbrewery.
Following the presentation, Project Director of the Upstate Institute Julie Dudrick explained the partnership between Good Nature Brewing and Colgate University.
“This expansion offers us the opportunity to continue the research we’ve always been doing,” Dudrick said.
She mentioned potential courses offered by the history, environmental studies or sociology departments that may lead to educational opportunities at the new brewery. There will be partnerships with the Shaw Wellness Institute as well that involve alcohol education. Students from Morrisville State College’s Brewing Institute will also be able to take advantage of the facility.
“We’re hopeful our facility can be a training ground,” Blackmore said.
According to Blackmore, the farm brewery will be an “economic engine” for the region. Within the first year, Good Nature Brewing will add 16 new full-time positions.
“This will have [a] huge relative impact within our community,” William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Geography and Environmental Studies Ellen Percy Kraly said.
The new jobs will range from “beertender” (someone who not only serves beer but also educates customers about the brewing process) to taproom managers. Positions for Master Brewer and Good Nature’s business office will also be need to be filled. Some jobs will require a degree in either chemistry or biology.
Blackmore and Whalen are hopeful that the new facility will be open either late summer or fall 2016. The process for approval is lengthy, however, taking six months before they can even break ground at the construction site.
The Colgate and Hamilton communities seem incredibly enthusiastic about this new project. Colgate students expressed their support for the expansion of Good Nature Brewing.
“Good Nature is a great social alternative in Hamilton. The fact that the company is expanding itself right in town is bound to be good for Colgate students and the community,” junior Sam Quinan said.
Senior Andrew Prieto had similar praise and expectations for the future of beer brewing in Hamilton.
“Good Nature Brewing and their tap room already do a great job interacting with and engaging students and faculty and providing a space for the Hamilton and Colgate communities to come together. This new expansion should open a new space with all kinds of new opportunities,” Prieto said.
Whalen discussed possible plans for another meeting to talk more about this expansion with the community.
“We’re going to have a forum in our taproom with the town on tentatively Thursday, March 19. People are really excited. Our goal is to always work directly with the community,” Whalen said.
The forum will be held on Thursday, March 19, from 7-9 p.m. in the Green Room at the Colgate Inn.
Correction 3/3/2015: An earlier version of this article stated that Good Nature Brewery was receiving “monetary support” from the Upstate Institute. We wanted to clarify that Good Nature is purchasing the property outright from Colgate and is not receiving monetary support of any kind from the Upstate Institute or the University.