On a recent Tuesday, the first Copper City Brewing Co. patron was an 87-year-old man who stops in every week. He loves hops, a conversion Danny Frieden witnessed right at his bar.
It’s experiences like these that give Frieden and his partner Eric Daniels the confidence they’re on the right track with their lineup of mostly classic craft styles. It’s the community they’ve built inside their copper-clad confines that assures this brewery is bringing his neighborhood in Rome, New York, back.
What is today known as Revere Copper Products put its stamp on Rome many decades ago, placing this small city on the map as a metal manufacturer.
Copper City Brewing snatched up the name as a tribute to not only Rome’s rich cultural history – the Erie Canal runs right through town – but it’s notable past in brewing. At its Canal-era peak in the 1850s, Rome was home to about a dozen breweries. Like so many others across the nation, they gradually faded away and disappeared during Prohibition.
Frieden became a business owner under the premise that one person can make a difference in the community. In this case, it’s two people, along with Frieden’s wife, Lori, who chose beer as a driver to revive a proud town.
It’s the social aspect of the beverage that continuously renews his commitment to his product daily. Pints tend to bring smiles to people’s faces, no matter their age, occupation or any other label they may have outside these doors.
Every day, Frieden watches and listens as folks in their 80s converse with people half their age who frequently chat with people half their age and everywhere in between. Beer brings people together.
Daniels can verify the same interactions from behind the glass that separates the brewery from the taproom. His day job as an engineer fuels his fascination with the beer-making process and constantly improving his craft.
The Copper City trio joins a slew of brewers that have been popping up around their stretch of the New York Thruway, Utica among them. Frieden calls the Heart of New York Beverage Trail a “brotherhood of good times.” And rightfully so, as they all share the sentiment that beer building community.
Frieden describes copper the metal is clean, bright and stands the test of time. The passion of the people behind Copper City the beer strive to give their brews those same attributes.