Today we’re continuing a series of posts here at the Craft Beer Academy. This series is on the history of beer and current breweries, as well as current information on them, including their beer release schedules. By learning about these breweries, you can learn more about what beers to expect when, as well as what each brewery does to make the beers you love. For the first post, we will look at a favorite brewery of The Craft Beer Academy, Southern Tier.
Starting in 2002 in the town of Lakewood, New York, The Southern Tier Brewing Company is a true craft brewery. This brewery, founded by Phineas DeMink and Allen “Skip” Yahn brews about 50,000 barrels of beer each year. That equates out to 100,000 traditional kegs, or 300,000 1/6 barrels, or “sixtels.” You can find Southern Tier beers in 9 countries, as well as over half of the United States.
Allen “Skip” Yahn graduated from Allegheny University began his business career in sales for American Sterilizer. Here, he sold medical products across the country, Mexico and later throughout Europe. Skip later joined Holiday Valley Resort, as President, where he played a vital roll in bringing a small resort with a single rope tow to what is now one of the most popular ski resorts in the east. In 1995 Skip’s entrepreneurial spirit continued to drive him in new directions. He and his brother, Walter, tried their hand in the beer business and opened the Ellicottville Brewing Company which thrives to this day under the ownership of Peter Kreinheder. Today he stands as the business backbone of Southern Tier Brewing Company.
Phineas “Phin” DeMink started his brewing career at age 21 with the Ellicottville Brewing Co. he brewed the first batch of Ellicottville Beer, creating great brews which are still on tap to this day. In 1998 he decided to further his brewing knowledge and education by enrolling in the Siebel Institute of Technology. After earning a diploma in Brewing Technology he accepted a position at the Goose Island Beer Co. running third shift filtrations. Phin diligently worked his way through the ranks gaining the opportunity to work directly with the Hall family who are veterans to the industry. After gaining this experience in production brewing, he returned to Chautauqua County with his wife and business partner, Sara, to raise a family and open the Back Burner Beer Co. which became the Southern Tier Brewing Co.
Currently, Phin and his wife Sara run Southern Tier as President and Vice-President, respectively.
In 2003 Skip and Phin purchased the defunct Old Saddle Back Brewing Co. in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. All the equipment was removed and brought back to Lakewood, New York and set up at its new 10,000 square foot home, The Southern Tier Brewing Company.
The Brewery began operations in February 2004 distributing regionally. By 2005 sales covered the majority of the New York State and the eastern half of Pennsylvania. In the beginning their two Flagship brands were a Pilsner and Mild Ale. Oh yeah they also brewed IPA! As it turned out the flagships were a flop and the IPA was a huge success. They next launched a line of seasonal beers which have gained great success. Since the beginning, Southern Tier has experienced steady growth, currently distributing to over half of the United States. Multiple expansions have been made to keep up with demand and the brewery continues to be innovative by producing new products.
Southern Tier makes a wide assortment of beers available both in the brew-pub and for distribution. Here is what they have at the time of this post:
Available Year Round
The Blackwater Series
There are a lot more beers available from time to time, and only at the brew-pub, like Chautauqua Ale. As with any brewery, stop by for a visit, make sure to get there early on a Saturday and take the brewery tour. You’ll be glad you did.
If you liked this post, and it made you want to drink more Southern Tier beer, or even visit the brewery, let them know where you learned about them!