Five microbreweries and the people driving Livingston County’s rapidly growing craft beverage industry showcased their efforts this fall in a familiarization tour.
About three dozen Livingston County business owners and local tourism industry professionals took part in the tour. The event was the 16th in a series of annual Livingston County Area Chamber of Commerce sponsored county-wide “FAM” – short for “Familiarization” – tours.
The goal of the tour is to increase and create awareness of local business in the region that results in new opportunities for both the hosts – bring them new visitors and business – and those already working with visitors – to have more exciting offerings, Chamber officials said.
This year’s tour was designed to feature the local craft beverage options available in the county, and to inform local tourism professionals and hotel front-line staff of the many breweries and cider works they can recommend to guests.
Stop 1: OSB Ciderworks
The first stop on the FAM Tour was OSB Ciderworks in Lakeville. It was a fitting first stop as OSB was the first company to open, due in part to the County Economic Development Office’s ambitious, “Brew in Livingston” campaign.
The campaign, which started with 40 applicants, sought to establish a critical mass of craft beverage locations that would lead to a trail inside the county, much like the wine trails popular in other Finger Lakes and Western New York counties.
Through an extensive process of developing and pitching business plans, companies were selected by the Office of Economic Development for support through expertise and financial incentives.
OSB Ciderworks opened in the spring of 2016 and according to co-founder Eric Smith has produced more than 40 different cider varieties.
The tour group sipped small samples of these unique ciders while learning the production process, and the company’s philosophy, history, and future plans. All stops on the FAM tour would follow this format.
The group learned that OSB stands for Original Stump Blower, a humorous family name for the early hard ciders developed before the company existed.
OSB can be enjoyed at the cidery, 5901 Big Tree Rd., Lakeville, and is also on tap in more than 100 regional restaurants and bars.
Stop 2: No BS Brew Company
The second stop was the soon to be opened, No BS Brew Company, 3474 Bronson Hill Rd., Livonia, nestled off the north end of Conesus Lake on Bronson Hill Road.
The facility is under construction with an expected opening in winter 2019.
Co-owner Steve Gray said its name comes from a combination of his and partner Ben Noragong’s names.
The long-time friends are incorporating some beautiful old woodwork into the tasting room.
Stop 3: Battle Street Brewery
The third stop was Battle Street Brewery, 4 Battle St., Dansville.
This facility was a labor of love for owners Tom and Doug Acomb, who wanted to restore an 1880s railroad station that had fallen into disrepair and that was in danger of being torn down.
The facility remains true to its roots as they kept many of the original design elements including both freight and passenger ticket booths that help retain an overall look and feel of the building’s former life as a train depot.
In keeping with the travel theme, the bar’s front is made of old suitcases and the foot rail is a piece of railroad track.
There is indoor and outdoor seating and a game room in the back.
BSB frequently changes its on-tap selection, which has included a cider from OSB Ciderworks. BSB also offer a selection of bar snacks from the kitchen.
Stop 4: Mortalis Brewing
The fourth stop was the newly opened Mortalis Brewing Company, 5660 Tec Drive, Avon, in the commercial park behind the John Deere dealership off Route 15.
Mortalis showcases the variety of Livingston County’s craft beverage operations, as it went in an entirely different direction with a decor that showcases the production process and the associated chrome and stainless steel of the equipment. They have also chosen to infuse unique ingredients into some of their beers such as coconut and cookies for the adventurous taster. The goal is to invite guests into the brewery and let them experience with all five senses, the fun, art, and craft of the brewing experience.
Stop 5: Dublin Corners Farm Brewery
The fifth and final stop on the tour was Dublin Corners Farm Brewery in the York hamlet of Linwood.
Double Corners, 1906 Main St., Linwood, was the second facility to open in November 2016 as part of the “Brew in Livingston” campaign.
Dublin Corners, on the Grant family farm, is a true farm brewery experience. The brewery is operated by the fourth- and fifth-generation of Grants, who live across the driveway.
Guests can walk out the brewery’s front door into the hop yard to see the climbing bines of hops, a key ingredient for making beer.
The tour group learned that the operation has expanded from three to five beers and will soon commission a new expanded brewing system.
The Grants indicated a nice mix of locals and tourists make up their clientele and that they enjoy regularly hosting music and events at the brewery.