Holiday Hours: New Year’s Day 3:00-8:00pm.
How Eric and Matt met and SSKB was born. Get the story from both sides.
Eric met Matt when their wives reconnected, having settled in Ossining, five miles “up the river” from their hometown.
Years before opening SSKB, Eric was active in the anti-fracking movement, working to prevent all of NY’s beautiful, pristine farmland from being turned over to, and destroyed by, fossil fuel companies. Farmers needed an alternative.
Along came the NY Farm Brewery Bill, progressive legislation that tied the burgeoning craft beverage industry to local agricultural suppliers. Small farms no longer had to compete globally in a race to the bottom where quantity superseded quality. Now that breweries were clamoring for the best grains and hops available, NY farms could get back to producing a premium product at a premium price. Farmland had once again regained its value.
Eric realized the opportunity to combine his love of craft beer, entrepreneurial spirit, and environmental stewardship to create a business that reflected his values. He had always enjoyed Matt’s homebrew, and considered it as good as any beer available on the market. Eric approached Matt at a friend’s wedding, for which he had provided the rehearsal dinner brew, to gauge his interest in partnering in this venture.
The two reached out to the 14 Farm Brewery licenses in existence at the time. Seven responded, and off they went on a whirlwind tour of New York State Farm Breweries. After two years of research and planning, Eric put all of the skills he acquired as a rigging and construction grip in the film industry to building out their vision.
Sing Sing Kill Brewery has now come to fruition, providing a much needed all-inclusive gathering space in an underserved downtown, offering a world class product that is locally sourced and crafted using sustainable practices.
My journey in craft beer began in the barren wasteland that was 1991 Syracuse, NY. Back then there were only a handful of bars that were doing anything that resembled craft beer. I was lucky enough to have Clark’s Ale House, the Blue Tusk, and Empire Brewing Company in my neighborhood.
Once my palate was awakened by flavors other than fizzy yellow water I searched for any and all obscure beers I could find. This was the pre-internet days, when you had to physically search to find information. My love of brewing started, like many others, with discovering Charlie Papazian’s book, The Complete Joy of Home Brewing. I brewed with my roommate at the time. We both worked at Wegman’s Food Market cutting fish in Dewitt and brewed whenever we could. Our tiny apartment smelled like a fermentation chamber.
With the support of my super cool wife Lisa, who oversees SSKB’s design as a founding board member, I moved from kitchen batches to the garage brewing on our Spike Brewing 1/2BBL system that we still use for test batches today. We had epic bottling sessions in our kitchen in those pre-opening days and if you’ve ever homebrewed you know what I’m talking about.
I’ve brewed on the East coast, the West Coast, in tiny apartments, in garages and now 20+ years later, on our first commercial system. When Eric and I met, our friendship started over great beers at BBQ’s and birthday parties. I wasn’t a home brewer that tried to wow my friends with my latest soy sauce beer. I’m more into the idea of an artisan working alone to hone and perfect something for the sake of the pursuit.
So, over the past couple decades, no one had really been allowed into my small circle of brewing. Once I came to believe that Eric “got” craft beer and had a frame of reference for the beers I was creating, I started sharing my handcrafted ales with him.
I was asked to brew beer for a mutual friend’s rehearsal dinner/wedding on Peaks Island, Maine, which we all attended. Looking around, watching the partygoers enjoying my beers, Eric suggested we should start a brewery.
The rest, as they say, is history.