By Jennifer Farnsworth
Kurt Borchardt is hoping to make his craft brewery, which he is moving to a new location, more than just a place to have a beer.
His vision includes beer, food and maybe even a hike. Borchardt said he wants the new Artisanal Brew Works to be more of a destination spot.
He plans to convert the former Cole’s Collision Center at 617 Maple Ave. in Saratoga Springs into a 10,000-square-foot, sit-down restaurant and brewery.
“Our goal is to bring in both beer enthusiasts, as well as families. The new site ties into the Palmertown Range, which will have some great trails for hiking. We really want it to become a destination,” said Borchardt.
Right now, they are operating out of a temporary location at 615 Maple Ave. on the Cole’s Collision site and are in the process of having the water and sewer pipes upgraded so that they can proceed to the full expansion and use the entire property.
The first location for the brewery was on Geyser Road. Food trucks were at the microbrewery, but that changed after a neighbor complained to the city. That prompted Borchardt to look for something that would allow him and his partner to build the brewery they envisioned.
“I was just done after that. I knew it was time to find a spot where we make the business into what we wanted,” said Borchardt.
Borchardt, now in his 50s, works alongside his business partner Colin Quinn, with whom he started the business. Borchardt said after working for years as an engineer at both International Paper and GE, he decided to become a chemistry teacher, but missed the hands-on work of being a chemist.
“I missed that part of chemistry. My wife bought me this home brewing kit, and then things just really took off from there,” he said.
Brewing beer seemed to combine all of his interests.
Borchardt said the business really began to take off during the start of the pandemic through online sales, particularly because of their trademark Warheads brew beer whose flavors includes blue raspberry, watermelon, green apple, lemon and black cherry. The business has a large distribution range, its largest customer base for online sales being in Los Angeles. They also distribute to Florida, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.
The beer selection includes New England-style IPAs, sours, fruited ales, stouts and Belgians. Initially they were shipping the product to customers themselves, but decided to send to distributors instead of individual customers.
Borchardt said they are hoping to have the restaurant portion operating some time in the fall. His greatest concern right now is being able to fill jobs.
“It is hard to get restaurant workers right now, so my hope is that it changes by the time we are up and running,” said Borchardt.
The Artisanal Brew Works taproom is open at the current site. Hours are Tuesday through Thursday, 3-9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, noon to 9 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. They are closed Mondays.
Learn more about the brewery at www.artisanalbrewworks.com. They are also on Instagram and Facebook.