Good Nature Brewing Inc., Madison County’s first brewery, opened its doors on January 12. The brainchild of Carrie Blackmore and Matt Whalen, Good Nature Brewing’s mission is simple: to produce high quality beer using locally grown ingredients. In particular, the brewery is helping to revive Upstate New York’s hops industry.
“If you drive around the area, you can literally see old hops barns falling down,” Carrie Blackmore ’08 said.
It hasn’t always been that way. In fact, Madison County was once world renowned for its hops production. In the 1880s, New York State produced a staggering 80 percent of the nation’s hops, with most of those coming from the Central New York area. But as more Americans moved out west, the majority of the country’s hops farming followed. This, combined with a disastrous blight in the nineteenth century and the detrimental effects of prohibition, led to a serious decline in hops production in the area. The local hops farmer that Good Nature Brewing uses, Foothill Hops, started growing only ten years ago and was the first to begin doing so in Madison County in over fifty years.
As its name implies, Good Nature Brewing is environmentally conscious and committed to reducing its carbon footprint.
“We try to be environmentally friendly wherever we can, and we recycle as much as possible,” Blackmore said.
Good Nature Brewing does not hand out paper receipts for the beer they sell on site. Instead, they email receipts to their customers. Their bar is also made from recycled materials.
The brewery’s efforts to support the local community are being returned. Blackmore said that they have been receiving a good deal of support from both Hamilton residents and the Colgate community. She even remarked that the brewery has received a surprising amount of patronage from Colgate professors.
The brewery’s biggest challenge has not been a lack of demand. Rather, remarked Blackmore, as a small business, they have not been able to distribute as much as they would like to.
“Right now, about 90 percent of our beer is being sold right out of the tasting room,” Blackmore said. “We’ve been getting calls every day from restaurants and bars who are interested in selling our beer. But we’re a true nano-brewery, and we can only produce so much beer at a time.”
The Colgate Inn, however, is currently offering Good Nature Brewing’s beer on tap, where it has been selling very well.
The positive response that the brewery has received from the local community has given Blackmore and Whalen reason to be optimistic. They are looking to expand in the near future and have already ordered two additional fermenters to add to the three they currently have.
As of now, the brewery offers six all-natural brews: an American Pale Ale, an India Pale Ale, a Chicory Mocha Porter, an Irish Style Red Ale, an American Brown Ale and a specialty brew, which cycles.
Good Nature Brewing Inc. is offering tours by appointment which also include a tasting. The brewery is located on 37 Milford Street, just off Lebanon Street.
Contact Colin Sheridan at [email protected]