By Susan Elise Campbell
What started as a plan to add more production and canning space has snowballed into an additional restaurant and event space that doubles the size of Common Roots Brewing Co. at 58 Saratoga Ave. in South Glens Falls.
Guests are already booking weddings and corporate events for up to 250 people, according to Christian Weber, who owns the brewery with his father, Bert Weber.
“The site has been cleared and the steel for footings has arrived,” said Weber. “We hope to have the new building up and closed in by the end of the year and opened to customers the end of spring.”
The new building and beer garden is being designed and built by Phinney Design Group of Saratoga Springs with V&H Construction Inc. as lead contractor. These are the same firms that rebuilt the modern Adirondack-style structure in 2020.
“We’re putting the team back together because we love what they did for us,” said Weber.
The owners had acquired the lot next door intending to move packaging and warehousing there, Weber said.
“But our food and beverage director told us the restaurant is always packed and people are requesting space for events larger than the 40-person capacity we offer now,” he said.
The company that opened its first taproom in 2014 suffered a devastating fire in 2019 but there has been no setback in the market for their craft beers. Distribution of Common Roots beverages has spread into the New England states, eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Weber said.
“Bigger tanks arrived the end of October to increase output,” he said. “Now we will have space for the new 90-barrel ceiling-height tanks and storage areas for new types of packaging and other dry materials.”
Weber said “it’s a big relief” for them to be able to “keep up with demand” for their beers, ales and lagers, most of which volume comes from local customers. The team had another area in mind to produce specialty beers, but that is being moved to the new facility.
“Wild Beer is not made in the stainless steel equipment you see at a microbrewery,” Weber said. “There is a tank with an open top and as the ingredients cool down overnight, microflora floating in the air inoculates the beer.”
Unlike their core beers that may be ready in three or four weeks, Wild Beer sits for 12 to 36 months.
“We have a portfolio of beers we cherish and are very excited to offer because styles of Wild Beer are delicate due to the longer fermentation time,” Weber said. “Our Wild Beer program isn’t the biggest driver of profit, but we’re passionate about it.”
According to the Brewers Association, an American microbrewery is defined as one that produces 15,000 or fewer barrels a year. Weber said Common Roots has a current annual output of 8,000 barrels, which “will bump up to 10,000 barrels” when the new facility is operating fully.
But the business has no plans to grow more than that, he said. Weber said the company received grant assistance through the CFA program and an expansion loan from Berkshire Bank.
The new building will look similar to the existing one and will once again be as green as possible with a low carbon footprint and emphasis on sustainability and recycling, said Weber.
Materials and ingredients for beer production are locally sourced, as are menu ingredients such as meats, cheeses and produce from “within a 100-mile radius,” Weber said.
Now that Common Roots will add to its capacity, customers can expect some new beers to enjoy in the taproom or in the new beer garden offering more of a “beer hall vibe” than the original.
“When we do the ribbon cutting next year we will certainly have some fun new beers,” Weber said.
Now is the two-year anniversary of the 501(c)(3) organization the Webers established to give back to the community.
“Community stewardship is part of our ethos,” said Weber. “We have donated tens of thousands of dollars to local causes and are excited that we can grow the Common Roots Foundation, too.”
Visit commonrootsbrewing.com for the current catalog of offerings and more information on the Common Roots Foundation.