Brewed in New York – Prison City Segment

Brewed in New York – Prison City Segment


(rock music) – Craft brewers love to
draw their inspiration from the places they call home. And that’s true in the
small town of Auburn where a new brew pub
has taken its cue from an unexpected source. If you’re doing a
little time here, please be sure to check
out Prison City Brewing. You may not think the
big house and beer naturally go together,
but brew pub founder Dawn Schulz and husband Marc, wanted to pay homage to the
city’s most prominent feature. Dawn is one of the
small, but growing number of female brew pub
owners across the state. And she invited me to
discuss how she broke in to the business. First of all, this is the
first time I’ve been to Auburn, it is absolutely beautiful. What drew you here, and
to open a business here? – When I was
leaving high school, I swore I was never coming back, but after college and then
being away for 15 years and starting a family, I
wanted to move back to the area because my family is here. I love Auburn, the
community is amazing, the lakes are gorgeous, and
it just seemed like home to be back here. I always have had a
passion for craft beer, so it seemed like the right time and the right fit
to open a brew pub. – And why the name? – Auburn has the
nickname Prison City. It is the home of Auburn
Correctional Facility which is a federal prison. Which is kind of famous, it’s
the first electric chair, so there’s some neat history
behind the prison itself, and we just thought it fit. A lot of the photos on the
wall are historic photos of the prison. – [Maya] I love that. – We hired a design firm, and
they came up with the logo, which is a lock with the
pilsner glass inside of it. – It’s clear that Prison City
takes its theme seriously. Albeit, a little
tongue in cheek. Right down to the
names of the beers. Dawn’s husband Marc, in
addition to being co-owner, is also known as the name guy. – I am the name guy. I think beer is meant
to be fun, it is art, and it should be handcrafted,
but it should be fun. So coming up with names
like Cool Hand Cuke, lotta movie references. We’re just always
looking for things, and especially if it
piques somebody’s interest, like they’re like “aha, I
know why you named that beer,” and it gets people engaged
and creates a conversation. – Dawn and Marc have even put their own prison-themed spin on a popular brew pub activity. I can see behind me here,
we have some mugshots. I assume that’s not
from the prison. (laughing) – Not that I know of, some of them might
have other mugshots. Most breweries tend
to do a mug club, where it’s discounted
pints or things like that, but being prison themed,
we have a mugshot wall, so everybody gets
their picture taken, we try to do different
tastings each month, whether they be blind
tasting, beer trivia, my husband will come
in and teach people about different hops
or different yeast, different styles of beer. That’s actually
one of the reasons that I love the brew pub model, because I feel like
we’re the front line to introducing people to
craft beer, and it’s been fun. – And that combination
of fun and serious craft extends across the business. It’s what attracted brewer
Ben Maeso to Prison City. Ben doesn’t lock himself into
a particular style of brewing. – I started out as being
a traditional brewer in terms of the types
of beers I made, and then, as soon as I
kinda figured that all out I enjoy to be challenged. I like to make lagers, I
enjoy making wild beer, sour ales, you know,
especially sour beers tend to be very unpredictable. Working with Dawn
has been great, she pretty much gives
me carte blanche as far as the brewery goes, which is amazing, because I
don’t have any restraints, I can do whatever I want. I can put cereal in beer,
I can put weird fruits and different
ingredients in beer. We produce just about
250 barrels a year, which is really small in
the grand scheme of things, but on the other
hand, it’s great, because we get to
experiment a lot with all these small batches. We get to have a lot of fun. If we were in a big
production brewery, we’d probably have to make
the same four flagship beers all the time, so,
we enjoy the fact that it’s small and I get
to keep being creative in my process. We have one beer
called Puff Puff Shiv, which is an English
style Brown Ale made with actual
Cocoa Puff cereal, so cleaned out a couple stores
of all their Cocoa Puffs, added it to the beer, we really didn’t know
what was gonna happen, ended up tasting and smelling
exactly like Cocoa Puffs, and everybody loved
it, especially those
that love chocolate those that love dark beers. – I originally didn’t think that I would ever
hire a home-brewer, but he was voted New York
state home-brewer of the year, he has hundreds of awards. – I came up for my interview, and I brought ten of
my best homebrews, brought my own glassware. I think having the
right glasses is crucial to the beer. A lot of bars serve out
of those old shaker pints, and it’s probably one
of the worst things that you can drink out of. I’m a glass geek in addition
to being a beer geek. – Before the end
of the interview, I already knew what
was gonna happen. I knew he was the guy. It was a great fit. – Being a female pub owner, are you in a unique
club, and if you are, do you consider
yourself a trailblazer? – I think that there
are trailblazers that have come before me,
but I certainly do think that we’re a minority
in the business. I am a member of the
Pink Boots Society, who has probably
blazed the trail. They’ve been around
for quite a while, and it is a women’s organization that is set up to try to
introduce women to craft beer and they do a lot of
education and scholarships for women to get into
the brewing industry. Girls Pint Out is
a group of women that I’ve put together
in the Auburn area to try to create a craft
beer community for women. – I would love to know if you
have any advice for anybody, but women in particular, for
starting a brew pub business. – As a woman, I would
say, just go for it. I sat on a panel of women
in the industry one time, and one of the big things
that came out of it is women were intimidated to
be able to speak about beer, because they felt that
they didn’t know enough. And my advice is, you really do. If you’re drinking it,
you’re already halfway there. But, really, in general,
the craft beer community is all-embracing, and I’ve
had great relationships with men and women. This community
wants to help you. Don’t be afraid
to ask questions.

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