It’s not unusual for small breweries to set up shop in nondescript warehouses, but the building that houses Industrial Arts Brewing Company in Garnerville, New York has an intriguing backstory. An old industrial smokestack marks the location, signaling the building’s history as pre-Civil War textile factory. Located in the mixed-use Garnerville Arts and Industrial Complex, the brewery is the latest project from Jeff O’Neil, former brewer at New York’s Ithaca Beer and Peekskill Brewing. “The whole vibe of the place is so great. It’s dripping with history, and it looks like a pre-Prohibition brewery,” O’Neil says.
The full scope of the project includes two buildings where Civil War uniforms were once produced, separated by a creek and linked with a 100-meter steel pipeline. Initially drawn to the high ceilings, big window bays and downhill slope that helps facilitate the brewing process, O’Neil designed all aspects of the renovation, creating a modern-meets-vintage aesthetic. “I could go into a thousand little details that we had to figure out, but what I’m most satisfied by is that the whole thing seems really intentional now that we’re up and running,” he says. “It was hard to explain the vision to anyone before we opened up walls to connect the different spaces and got everything into place. Now that the dust has settled it’s obvious to just about everyone that we have room to grow and the immediate ability to do that.”
On the beer side, O’Neil and brewmaster Mike Mcmanus (formerly of Ommegang) are focused on using the best ingredients available to make “fresh, clean, hoppy beers, particularly ones at lower alcohol strength and higher quaffability,” he says, citing the snappy, tropical Tools of the Trade extra pale ale and rotating State of the Art IPA series as good examples of their philosophy. “You know when they’re made well because you never want to stop drinking them, and you don’t necessarily need to,” he says.
Since opening in August, the brewery has been a welcome addition to Rockland County, an area of the lower Hudson Valley where only a few other breweries operate. The taproom is already a local gathering place, and O’Neil has started to partner with the neighboring Garner Arts Center to host art and music exhibits and events. “I can perceive the local pride around what we’re creating,” he says. “Our team is diverse, super talented and well-connected in the NY scene. I hope we’ll all continue to be leaders in our own unique ways and encourage a culture of quality and fun around beer in general.”
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