By Christine Graf
Whitman Brewing Co. has been named one of the country’s top 10 new breweries by USA Today, an honor that came just months after Hop Culture, a leading craft brewing publication, included the Saratoga Springs craft brewer on its list of the 10 best new breweries of 2020.
“To come from a brewery publication was very flattering recognition for our team. It reaffirms that we are on the right path, and hopefully that we can keep growing. We are humbled and excited by it,” said co-owner Will Crager. “It’s a great affirmation that we are moving in the right direction. We are very fortunate to have a great group of people around us who have a lot of expertise and experience and have helped us to have some great early success in just a year-and-a-half of operating.”
Walt & Whitman Brewing Co. is located at 20 Lake Ave. in the former Saratogian newspaper building which is owned by Saratoga Prime Properties. The Crager family, Philadelphia natives who moved to Saratoga Springs five years ago, chose it as the location. Will and his mother, Kathy, are co-owners and sisters Katie, Jane, and Lily are also involved in operations. Craft beer enthusiast and family patriarch, Bill, works full time in the financial sector.
“We had this vision, and for us it was more about experience and building a space that allowed people to come in and enjoy music and share our love for craft beer,” said Kathy Crager.
Just months after the December 2019 opening, the coronavirus pandemic shut down restaurants and bars. The Crager’s were forced to furlough some staff members. They opened for takeout only. After restaurants and bars were able to reopen with reduced capacity, Walt & Whitman’s spacious interior was well suited for social distancing.