Brewed in New York – Southern Tier Brewing Company Segment

Brewed in New York – Southern Tier Brewing Company Segment


– If you’ve never been to the
Chautauqua-Allegheny region, it’s definitely worth the trip. This beautiful county
has more farms than any in the U.S. and water front
property is everywhere. – But let’s be
honest, when I go, I want to check
out the breweries. – Matt ventured out to
Lakewood, New York, and got to visit a craft beer giant,
Southern Tier Brewing. I think it’s safe to say he
was over the moon about it. – Oh, that Steinecker
Brewhouse, well, you’ve just got to
see it to understand. Visiting Southern
Tier today, you’d have no idea that it had
humble beginnings. The campus is home not
only to the brewery, but an enormous warehouse
and even a distillery. It’s beautiful grounds
and wetland preserve boast two taprooms, an
outdoor patio and stage, even a stones course,
making it the perfect place for visitors to kick
back on a summer day. Founder, Phin Demink,
started out brewing with his brother-in-law in
Ellicottville, New York, and then learned production
brewing at Goose Island. In 2002, the opportunity
presented itself to purchase used
brewing equipment for pennies on the dollar, and
Southern Tier was born. But the taste of craft beer was still new to
upstate New Yorkers, and Phin had to work hard
to build the business. – In the early years,
I spent a lot of time driving across New York
state, trying to get wholesalers to just
pick our products up. – How did it go? – It took some time,
in those days the interest didn’t exist,
I’d go in and wholesalers would refer to craft
as, “Oh, this is that funny beer that
we’ve been hearing about.” For every yes, we got 20 no’s. – But the people who
said yes, their eyes must have lit up when
they first tried that. – The funny thing is once
you get into craft beer– – There’s no going back. – [Phin] You don’t go back,
it’s like you found something, you discovered something,
and it’s good, it’s amazing. I just said, we’ve gotta package
beer, we gotta bottle beer, you can’t just fill kegs
we’ll never survive, so I started going
to the chains that would listen that were
into gourmet products and I was able to get my
beer into their coolers. And that was a big
game changer for us. – A lot has changed
since those early days. Southern Tier’s grown to
be one of the largest craft breweries in the country, with
distribution to 38 states. You may know them by their
famous Pumking Imperial ale, but they also offer a
broad range of styles and flavors that are
born out of creative collaboration, and
skilled technique. Do you still do a lot
of the brewing now? – I do a lot of the
innovation, now we have an innovation team,
so it’s a little bit more of a
calculated process, has some analytics,
has creativity, so it’s different
but it’s still fun. – Take me through the process of how a new beer
comes to be made. – You have a bucket
that’s just full of crazy innovation– – I love it. – Some things are safe,
some things are risky, and anybody in our
building, on our sales team, they can throw anything
into this bucket. – What’s a really risky idea
that you’re never gonna do? – There’s been bubble
gum beer, one of the things incorporated
Mountain Dew. (laughs) So it’s just some
really oddball stuff. You never know, you
never know what’s going to be the
next greatest thing. – Sure, well I know down
in the city recently, the chocolate orange people were talking about, and
that was delicious. – Yeah, I mean, we definitely found a niche with
our dessert beers– – Yeah. – 10% rich stouts,
that resemble desserts like creme brulee,
or chocolate orange, I remember every
year at Christmas, I’d get those little orange– – Me, too. – Chocolates that you wack
and they open up, some of the inspiration just comes
from simple things like that. – It’s amazing that
Blackwater Series really delivers on the
flavor it’s promising, too. How is brewing different now
than when you first opened? – Definitely now, as we’re
producing larger volumes, as we’re shipping to
broader territories, quality really starts to
become a primary focus, so with that, you need to
start upgrading your equipment, you need packaging lines
that deliver low level to dissolved oxygen
which stales beer, because we don’t pasteurize,
we have to be very sanitary, and then I upgraded the
equipment to have automation, I remember the early days
when I was running around with kettles and flipping valves and I was really part of the
process, I was the process. I want my brewers to be
focused on making sure the hops go in at the right
time, the enzyme activity is correct, so the beer ends
up at the right dryness, or the right sweetness,
the things that matter. – I got to chance to
see the automation Phin was talking
about first hand. Southern Tier’s VP of
brewing and operations, Matt Dunn, took me
behind the scenes of this massive high tech brewery. – To the malt room, guys! (upbeat music) – So this is gonna be
our malt cleaning room. We receive 50 thousand
pound shipments of malt. There’s rocks, and wire and
a lot of dust in that malt, so we need to clean it before
we put it in our wet mill. – So this is a really serious apparatus for cleaning malt. – Yes, it is, yep, if
we don’t clean our malt really well, we’re going
to ruin our wet mill. – Gotcha, all right what’s next? – We send this malt over
to the mill, check it out. (upbeat music) – So this is brewhouse
one, this is 110 barrel brewhouse, so about every
three hours, we’re starting a batch that’s gonna end up
as 110 barrels of beer. – Yeah. – It was custom made for us by Steinecker in Germany in
2012, brought over here on boats and we built
this building around it. – It’s very clean. – Yeah, thank you, we pride ourselves on keeping it
really, really clean. – So can I touch this? – No, you cannot
touch these vessels. (laughing) – So what are these
massive tanks here? – We have a five
vessel brewhouse. Our wet mill is actually
under that vessel, that’s our grist case, our
mash tun, our water tun, our kettle and our whirlpool. From here, once
we make the wort, we’re gonna send it
over to the cellar and pitch yeast into it
so let’s check it out. (upbeat music) – So welcome to the yeast room, from our brewhouse, we
send wort all the way across the building 300
yards into this valve nest– – Wow. – The same automation that
controls our brewhouse, controls this valve nest and all the machinery in
this room, where we grow yeast, store
yeast, and pitch yeast. – And this is all controlled through this
computer system here? – That’s right, the
same software that controls our brewhouse, also
controls the yeast room. – All right so, once the
yeast is pitched, then what? – To put yeast in the wort,
we’re going to send it to one of the cellars,
let’s check out cellar two. – Love it. – This is the big cellar,
or our outdoor cellar, we have 12 660, 880
barrel tanks in this room, so they’re really big and they
stick out above the building, that’s why they call
it the outdoor cellar. – So these are the bottoms
and they go really high? – That’s right, they go about four stories
up in the air. – Wow. – Yep, so there’s
about 12 thousand 12 ounce bottles in
one of these 660’s. – I know you have a big state of the art
canning line, too. – Yep, we sure do and it’s right
in the next room over here. – Let’s go take a look. – Let’s check it out. – Welcome to the can line, Matt. – Wow, this thing is
really big and really loud. – Yeah, it sure is,
we’re scrambling right now to keep up with over pack. Our 15 can variety
pack that has three different cans of five
different beers in it. – So this is pilsner
that you’re canning now? – This is pilsner right now and we’re packaging it
into these open 30 pack trays, which are
then sent off to a third party to mix
into the variety pack. – What percentage of your
beer is being sold in cans? – We’re about 15%
cans right now, about 50% bottles and 35% draft. – And the can is growing or not? – Yep, can’s are
definitely growing, mainly driven by that over
pack can variety pack. – Gotcha, well thank you so much for showing
me around today! – Yeah! – This is a really
impressive facility! – Sure, thanks for coming
out, loved having ya. – Thanks, man. – All right, cheers. – Cheers, indeed.
Before we left, Matt took good care of our
crew with fresh samples. Yeah, right off the line! Nothing more refreshing
than the perfect pilsner, but this wasn’t the last sample
I enjoyed at Southern Tier. We’re back in the tap
room and I’m about to have an experience not many
people are going to get, Phin is gonna give me a guided tasting of three of their beers. So what do we have here? – We have our IPA,
our Nu Skool IPA, and we also have our
3 Citrus Peel Out. – All right, I know I like this IPA so let’s start there. – Yep, so this is legacy beer, we’ve been making
this since 2003, it’s a little bit more malty, very pronounced
bitterness, and it’s kind of got your classic C hops: Cascade, Centennial, Columbus. Very balanced beer. – Yeah that to me, that’s what I think of as like a
classic IPA of the region. – So the next beer that we have is Nu Skool IPA, 60
IBU’s, it’s 6% alcohol, it’s a smoother
beer, dryer finish, not as malty, the hops
that we use in this are more tropical, so we
have Ekuanot, Mosaic, and those hops are very
pineapple, passion fruit. – And just to be
clear, those are notes that we’re getting from
the hops, no fruit is added. – There is no fruit in
Nu Skool, that tropical flavor is all coming from
the pedigree of hops. So where this has two and
a half pounds per barrel, this is about four pounds
per barrel, and you know I love them both,
I go old school and I go Nu Skool all the time. (laughing) We also have our
3 Citrus Peel Out, which is a summer innovation, it pushes the envelope
of flavor, extremely
citrus forward, 8% alcohol, sparkling
clean, and also something that could potentially
drift between the lines of beer and cocktails. – It does taste
like a mimosa to me, it even finishes
dry, it’s got like a vinous wine quality in
the way it finishes to me. – Yep, I mean, definitely
people that are more wine drinkers
than IPA drinkers can identify with this product. – Sure. – It’s good boat beer, we like boat beer here in
Chautauqua county. (laughing) – Well, thank you
so much for showing these to me, I’ve been
following your story from the city, but it’s
really great to meet you, it must be great edifying
to see how far you’ve come. – It is, it’s rewarding, but
the most rewarding thing is it’s never felt like a job,
it’s always been a hobby. – Amazing. – A big hobby. (upbeat music)

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