TheBREWERY

A state-of-the-art brewhouse, taproom & a stones course
What else do you need?

You might have noticed the phrase “Why the hell not?” on the side of our bottles and cans. That phrase has come to symbolize a spirit we’ve had since day one, when we set out to do something that on paper might not have made total sense to those around us: To start brewing beer on some gorgeous wooded property down a quiet road in Lakewood, NY.

It has come to symbolize the determination of our team, and, greater still, an attitude that this rolling countryside in western New York has always held dear. It’s equal parts hard work ethic and willingness to challenge convention, while putting our minds (and our backs) into doing what we believe is the right way to do things.

Since our humble beginnings, Southern Tier Brewing Company has grown into an industry leader. Our hand-crafted ales are now available in more than thirty states and points beyond.

And while our growing fan base relies on our many tried and true originals, they also welcome the new flavors we’re always dreaming up and pouring in our taproom. After all, why the hell not?

The
Brewhouse

Southern Tier Brewing Company of Lakewood, New York, has grown into one of the top craft beer producers in the US. Our handcrafted ales are now available in more than thirty States and points beyond.

Founders Phineas DeMink, Sara DeMink and Allen “Skip” Yahn started the brewery with the vision of reviving the practice of small batch brewing to a region rich in brewing tradition. In 2002, with equipment gained from the purchase of the Old Saddleback Brewing Co. in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, the Southern Tier Brewing Company began production in the Stoneman Business Park just outside of Lakewood, New York. By 2003, select varieties of small batch ales were locally distributed, and by 2005, sales covered the majority of New York State and Pennsylvania. Before launching a successful roster of seasonal and year-round beers, the brewery produced Pilsner, Mild Ale, and India Pale Ale.

Southern Tier immediately garnered regional attention and demand for the product quickly outgrew what their modest facility could handle.  In 2009 a new 20,000 square foot building was built for the purpose of brewing innovative, high-quality beer to accommodate an expanding customer base. In this new facility, the small brewery was able to grow and offer the product both nationally and internationally, while still satisfying its loyal fans.

Steadily growing, throughout 2010 it became clear that more beer needed to be produced to satisfy a growing customer base. 800 BBLs of fermentation vessels were added to the production area and a 7500 square foot addition was added for use as a conditioning room. The constantly running brew house has also been expanded and updated from 20 BBL to a 50BBL system. In keeping pace with the expanded brewing capacity, the company replaced its bottling line with the most high-tech, state of the art bottling line of its size in North America. It fills, caps and labels an impressive 10,000 bottles per hour at full speed. Our cellar was expanded to allow for more than 3200 BBL of fermentation space as of late 2011 and then again in 2012 to more than 7200 BBL.

In 2012, our new brewhouse installation began and wrapped up in early 2013. The first liquid began flowing through the 110 BBL Steinecker brewhouse in March of 2013.  Built in Germany, we actually assembled the building around the new brewhouse. Overlooking the new brewhouse is the Schalander tasting room, which is also the ending point of our Saturday afternoon tours. With 14 fresh draught lines, a fireplace and a cozy vibe, it is a pleasant place to enjoy samples of our many beers. The Schalander is perfect for private events (call 716.763.5479×204 to book yours).

The autumn of 2013 saw more construction on our expanding campus. A 45,000 sq. ft. warehouse and distribution center was built as well as a wastewater treatment facility. Also in 2013, our “Yeast wing” was completed. Our yeast parlor includes automated yeast propagation and storage. Yeast is harvested at 3-4 days old, extracted and drawn (approximately 24BBL x 3 tanks) 5BBL from 100 BBL of fermenting beer. Yeast is held in “suspended animation”. Wort stream from the brewhouse goes through yeast parlor, then to FV.)

The years following saw more of the same: investment in quality in the form of our team and our tools. We replaced the DE plate filter with GEA Centrifuge system, which operates at approximately 100BBL/hr and uses force of gravity rather than Diatomaceous Earth to clarify beer. We also more than doubled our cellar staff, as well as the lab and Quality Assurance / Quality Control departments.

In 2016, we continued to invest in Southern Tier Brewing Co.’s brewery and brand. Two new 30BBL fermenters arrived, so did our 2-BBL nano-brewhouse. We began testing batches of new and exciting brews late in the year, and you can often find one of our small-batch brews on tap at our Empty Pint or Tasting Room bars. Speaking of the bar, we raised it again when we installed a state-of-the-art canning line & began canning some of our most popular ales & lagers. 2016 also saw the evolution of our brand in the form of updated product packaging (including the launch of cans with new brand imagery), logos & marketing collateral. We rounded out the year’s growth & refresh by once again investing in quality. We improved our Quality Assurance with a new automatic fill level check from Filtec and we implemented new programs in Safety as well as Food Safety. Last, but not least, we updated our computer tech in our cellar and we installed a new automatic palletizer to keep packaging running smoothly.

In early 2017, we opened our first satellite brewpub in Pittsburgh, PA. The North Shore (316 N. Shore Dr.) facility boasts a full kitchen, a 10 hL German-built brewhouse, local-only beers + STBC favorites and a 10,000 sq. ft. beer garden.

Brewery

From Beer to Spirits

Barrels
Southern Tier Distilling Company - Bourbon Whiskey

In 2015, over a few pints of Southern Tier beer, we had an idea. (Truth be told, it’s a place where lots of our great ideas begin.)  What if we took the same hard work, craft attitude and innovative thinking that helped us grow our brewery, and applied it to the distilling side of things?

Not by carting off to Kentucky, but by raising a distillery right next door to our brewery in the woods of Lakewood. We would source local materials. Experiment with recipes that shared some of our time-honored brewing traditions. And create a sister company offering craft spirits.

We proudly distill with over 70% of our ingredients coming from right here in New York, earning us a New York State Farm Distiller’s license. It’s allowed us to create some classic favorites and some tasty “experi-fermentations. “

Today, our bourbons patiently age in oak barrels racked five high along the walls. In the meantime, our master distiller, never one to sit still, is crafting specialty rums, vodkas, gins and whiskies that is sure to warm the soul on a cold winter’s day.

Take, for example, our rum. While the Feds don’t let us call it rum, we distill from locally made NYS maple syrup and age the liquid in barrels to produce what is called “Maple Aged Spirits.” Caramely goodness in a glass.

We invite you to stop by for a taste of whatever we happen to be pouring.

VISIT SOUTHERN TIER DISTILLING

Brewery
Grounds
Brewery Grounds

Southern Tier Brewing was originally founded in the place where Southern Tier Distilling now resides. We brewed there for a few years until we outgrew the space, acquired several wooded acres across the road and we set forth to create a campus of sorts. Since then, we have built and expanded our brewhouses and cellar capacity to meet our growing demand. Surrounding the brewhouse is our packaging hall with keg, bottle and can production lines as well as our ever-growing farm of fermenters and state-of-the-art brewing quality lab. The 110 BBL Steinecker brewhouse handles production volume brewing while two other brewhouses are used for R&D.

In January 2017, the pilot 25 BBL brewhouse was updated to more closely match the production brewhouse. And, to really test new ideas, a nano brewery came online in late 2016.  We built not one, but two taprooms, one of which houses out-of-this-world dishes and house-smoked meats, while the other overlooks the gorgeous Steinecker brewhouse. Adjacent to all of this is our indoor/outdoor seasonal patio, warm-weather performance stage and our stones course. Just up the lane is our 45,000-sq-ft warehouse and logistics facility and, of course, the distillery. All of this landscape of liquid love sits on naturally wooded campus that includes several acres of wetland preserve for our resident waterfowl.

Learn More About Our State of the Art Quality Lab

Learn More About Stones

The Stones Course is Open
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TOURS & GROUP INFORMATION

$15 | 12:15, 1, 1:45, 2:30, 3:15 & 4 pm

Purchase tickets at The Empty Pint beginning each Saturday at noon. Visitors enjoy a guided walk through the brewery where it may be cold, hot, wet and noisy, and ends with beer samples in our tasting room overlooking the new brewhouse. NOTE: Must be 21 years old to take the tour, no reservations, limit 18 people per tour. Arrive early for your best chance to reserve a spot. Tours sell out quickly.

We welcome groups, please see our group guidelines.

GROUP GUIDELINES

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VISITING CHAUTAUQUA COUNTY?

Our friends at the Chautauqua County Visitor’s Bureau have compiled a great list of accommodations, activities and events. Visit their website while planning your trip.

SEE THE LIST

Enjoy
The Empty Pint
See Our Brew Pubs
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21 or over?

To enter this site, you must be of legal drinking age.