2013 Cornell Hops Conference

2013 Cornell Hops Conference
Brian, Derek and Zac at the hops conference.

Earlier in the summer there was a conference held on NYS Farm Breweries but none of us were available to attend. So, naturally when we saw another conference with a session on NYS Farm Breweries we jumped at the chance to soak up some knowledge! And the knowledge was being dished out, my friends.

This past weekend we attended the Cornell Hops Conference and learned about issues facing hops farmers that may be affecting local harvests, a bunch of tips on running a brewery, and what may be ahead as we apply for our NYS Farm Brewery License.

A couple of us do have our own hop gardens growing, and we are also good friends with the Bluebell Hopyard, so we attended a few presentations on means of pest control and a presentation on how brewers select their hops. There are some interesting developments, and most importantly for us it gave us some ideas on how we should create recipes going forward. Being a NYS Farm Brewery requires a percentage of ingredients coming from NYS, so getting this insight into what hop farms may be producing can help us create recipes that we will be more likely to repeat over multiple seasons.

The real treat for us, though, was the session dedicated to breweries, and with a focus on NYS Farm Breweries. Up until this point, the organization of information available to the public was… not the best. And even after being on the phone with several government organizations we couldn’t find people that had answers. Well that has all changed now that we have a website and Sam Filler, who has been assigned to handle matters according to the new NYS beverage laws. Finally we can have someone who will have (or at least find) answers!

To our pleasure, we also had some type of affirmation that our planning was on the right track after listening to Randy Lacey from Hopshire Farm brewery give a presentation on having a business plan. Marty Mattrazzo from Farmhouse Maltery and Brewery informed us of the daunting task facing malters in NYS and keeping up with the demand of Farm Breweries, and Rich Michaels of F.X. Matt’s Brewery handed out a brewery lab manual with several easy tips a brewery can implement for quality control and testing. They even had some presentations about applications of solar energy in brewing, which goes along with the mindsets of us here at Space Craft Brewing Company.

All in all it was a great conference and we learned a lot. Personally, though, I think the most valuable thing we were able to take away from this was being able to place our brewery in the big picture and getting a better idea of where we stand and our priorities. Before the conference I figured I’d love to share as much of the information as possible, but nothing was more valuable that putting ourselves in the middle of things and understanding where we stood.

So, if you’re an aspiring to own a brewery the main thing to take away from this is put yourself right in the middle of things ASAP if you have questions, because that’s the quickest way to get the answers you need. If you’re just a fan of Spacebrews or us wackos that work here, then rest assured we feel 1000% more confident of what we need to do to start serving you! :D