By Susan Elise Campbell
A brand new company is tapping into the market for locally crafted beer at 11-13 Washington St. in Ballston Spa, a building owned by the Elliott Family, who are business owners and long-time residents of the community.
Speckled Pig Brewing Co. will be the first in the village to not only serve their own beer on tap, but also to craft their products on site, according to R.J. Elliott, who is managing the project for the brewery’s five owners.
“Nearly two years ago my parents and I purchased a rundown building that we had eyed for many years,” said Elliott, a business analyst and recent graduate of the New York University master’s program in industrial engineering.
The Elliott Family paid $180,000 for a building that the owner George Hannahs used at one time for a storefront beauty salon and for storage over the decades..
Randy Elliott, R.J.’s father, is a local contractor and his construction company is responsible for the build-out. His mother is Kelly Delaney Elliott, a long-time real estate agent, owns her own brokerage, Elliott Property Services LLC in Ballston Spa.
While the three Elliotts own the building, the brewery has two other co-owners, Larry and Mary Jo Heid.
“I met Kelly while looking for property in Ballston Spa,” Larry Heid said. “I had started a home brewery with my son five years ago and was at a stage in my life when I was looking for something different.”
Speckled Pig Brewing Co. is registered as a New York Farm Brewery. This means 80 percent of the hops and grain used to make product must be sourced from within the state.
There will be wood-fired ovens in the sightline of customers and they will make fresh baked pizza, Elliott said.
Elliott said the site plan submitted to the town places the tap room and pizza ovens in the front of the building and the beer barrels in back. When details are finalized, there will likely be seating for 40 people, according to Heid.
“Seven barrels will produce about 750 pours at a time,” said Heid, who has oversight for brewing. “We will be turning over three times a week, so product will always be fresh.”
He said that the beers the company decides to brew are dictated by the market.
“I like making New England IPAs and stouts,” he said. “We will also offer a pilsner and a sour beer, as these are popular now.”
Having made “a batch a week for more than five years,” Heid said he gained some of his skills in brewing from taking classes. But the bulk of his knowledge “comes from trial and error.”
The Speckled Pig will also make seltzers in-house and serve wines and ciders from New York growers.
The work on the building exterior is completed.
“The building has been freshened up with new windows, a new sidewalk, and some added landscaping,” Elliott said.
He said the partners are “excited to bring something different into the community” and that they plan to partner with Schenectady County Community College and its comprehensive brewer internship program.
“At any time there are probably a dozen students in the program and we hope to bring in three or four interns to learn hands-on at the Speckled Pig Brewing Co.,” said Heid. “The goal is to be able to hire one of them full time as a brewer or assistant brewer after graduation.”
The partners are hoping for a June opening. Initially the taproom will be open Wednesdays through Sundays with live music on weekends, according to Heid.
Heid said the partners want to make the taproom “a neighborhood place where people can gather and get good value.”