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.