Brew Biz: Werts and All

Written by Ken Carman for

Ken Carman is a BJCP judge; homebrewer since 1979, club member at Escambia Bay and Music City Homebrewers, who has been interviewing professional brewers all over the east coast for over 10 years.

The Topic: Brew Ghosts

One of the most haunting things about getting older is the ghosts. Oh, I don’t mean the obvious: parents, pets, the bullies we buried in our backyard. Shhh… don’t tell the police. I mean floors we used to walk that don’t exist anymore, places we and our friends used to play, walk and, yes, even drink beer: like The Barber Shop in Utica, New York. When I was in college it was a fun place to go drink dark beer for a 50 cents a glass and eat small paper trays of shelled peanuts for free.

The Barber Shop advertised “Where John and Mary meet.” Well, like my ex-girlfriends who I took there, John and Mary don’t meet anymore: the streets rerouted like our lives, as time tends to do. Or the fact that one such ex… short redhead… was a total b…

Never mind.

Then you have breweries. I used to hang around Newman’s in downtown Albany, NY: one of the first craft breweries when the trend started to nibble on the northeast in the 80s and 90s. Newman’s was in a somewhat disgusting part of downtown that, since Newman’s is long gone, has probably gone to “brewing” less legal substances.

Sorry. That was a not so funny… crack… I just made.

Cough Cough.

Then you have Laughing Pines in Slidell, Louisiana, and many other breweries long gone.

I think that’s why the following story caught my interest from

The Otisca Building, a historic but hazardous former brewery that looms over a block of Butternut Street on Syracuse’s (NY) North Side, is destined to be demolished within weeks.

City officials plan to seize the rambling two- and three-story brick complex for back taxes and sell it to a company controlled by St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center and Home HeadQuarters, which will pay for the six-figure demolition.”

But the story doesn’t end there…

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