With Central New York’s strong roots in baseball and beer, it only made sense that Cooperstown Brewing Co. would bring the two together when it opened in 1995.
The brewery continues to use recipes crafted by famed brewer Alan Pugsley in its English-style ales and the system developed by Peter Austin, considered by many to be the godfather of microbrewing. Cooperstown Brewing makes its ales with Austin’s signature brick-insulated copper kettles, wooden mash tuns and open fermenters.
The brewery uses a 150-year-old strain of Ringwood yeast born in Yorkshire, England, but will soon add some local flavor in the mix. Renowned for hop production in the late 1800s, the Cooperstown area is again filling up with producers that will contribute to the brewery’s recipes soon.
Ian: Cooperstown Brewing Company started back in 1995, hand-crafting English ales using the Peter Austin system. Old Slugger is the flagship. First brewed back in 1995. It’s a light-bodied pale ale. The second we came out with, Nine Man Golden Ale, nice and light-bodied. Finish out with a Back Yard IPA and a Bench Warmer porter. New to the list this year, we do have a rye wheat induction ale, fitting perfectly into the growth of the brewery. There was definitely a connection back in ’95, obviously for where we’re located to connect beer and baseball. We fit perfectly into the area. Growth from ’95 to like 2010, we were doing really well. Things were going well. The brand was out there. Cooperstown was growing. It was on the map. Distribution was gaining. We had a couple rough years in there a little bit, and as of the start of 2014, Cooperstown Brewing was purchased by Northern Eagle Beverage. It sort of gave us new life.
We had new recipes coming on board, distribution’s back out there. We’re back to the day one, Alan Pugsley recipes of ’95. We’re starting to transition into a whole new game for us. When folks travel to this area, they’re looking for something local. You’ve got Omme Gang up the street, you’ve got Cooperstown Brewing, you’ve got Butternuts Beer & Ale. All of us are producing different tastes, different styles. I think as far as the craft world in general, that’s the best thing about it, is there’s something different everywhere you go. There’s something different in every store. You can pick and choose and you find the little miracles within the shelves. I guess that’s what I like. I think our brand definitely sticks out. We produce a good English ale, and we’re looking forward to what we can come out with next.