Brewer's perspective

Some interesting analysis of the situation surrounding the proposed brewery at the former St. Joseph's in Albany from George de Piro, who was formerly the head brewer at the Albany Pump Station and is now a partner in the Druthers brew pub in Saratoga. As you know, many people in the neighborhood are skeptical of the project. [TU] Earlier: Is St. Joseph's Church a brewery in its next life? (June 2012)

Comments

I'd like to make a quick point I think the media has been missing. While it is true that the majority of the neighborhood residents have not been supportive of the brewery's plan, it would be a mischaracterization to suggest all residents are against it. I'm a TBT resident who has been to the meetings, been on the email chains, spoken at length with many of my neighbor, and (gasp) supports the brewery. Additionally, I'm not the only one. I'd suggest that within the triangle about 30% of the residents actually do support the brewery, even if they are much quieter than some of the brewery's more boisterous objectors.

Furthermore, I think the people, and the opinions of those people, which the media has chosen to represent the opposition are not even representative of most people who do not support the brewery. The majority of people who do not currently support the brewery have legitimate concerns about the size of the restaurant and the availability of parking. The people being quoted in the newspaper, and suggesting we just let the building fall down, talking about drunk people terrorizing the neighborhood, rats, toxic brewing fumes, etc., are hyperbolic nut jobs who not only don't represent the neighborhood, but are not even a good representation the opposition.

That's good to hear, Jackers. I was beginning to think that neighborhood was full of nutters from the newspaper articles. I can understand the parking concerns, but I would still favor the brewery if I lived there. It might be the last good chance at restoring the church, and should bring some good attention/money to the neighborhood. Just take a look at what some other upstate NY cities have done by turning huge, old buildings into upscale restaurants. Helsinki Hudson? Terrapin in Rhinebeck? There are a lot of positive examples.

@Ryan: I take issue with describing the people "from the newspaper articles" as "nutters" when many of them are acknowledging a fact that you are not: a restaurant may bring benefits all would like; an industrial brewery would bring something else--and that is what the issue hinges upon.

Also, it is blatantly obvious that no one wants to see an historical building implode. But more blatantly obvious is that the citizens who live there don't want their quality of life to implode--and a factory, to their mind, would do that.

Why not try to find something that satisfies both? If that isn't feasible, the living, breathing, experienced quality of life should trump the building.

Personally I think the people talking about an "industrial brewery" when referring to this project either don't understand manufacturing in any way or are being purposely misleading. An industrial brewery is something like the one in Newark for Budweiser. You don't want to live next to that. I understand. Neither do I.

Now go down to the pump station and spend 24 hours. Tell me how much "industrial activity" you see. How many delivery trucks? Have you done this? How about Brown's in Troy? Small scale brewing is not "industrial". There is not a constant flow of deliveries and pick ups.

There are restaurants in my neighborhood. I can see one from the window where I'm typing. A few trucks a day come by. One for food. One for beer. One for laundry. Once a month or so someone comes for the grease. Guess what I see much more often? City trucks. Street cleaners. UPS trucks. Fed Ex trucks. Commercial garbage trucks. The neighbor's moving truck.

And parking in my neighborhood is much more of a problem then in yours. Guess where I usually park when coming to the Palace. Right near that church. David Sedaris sold out the joint and I can show up and park right in your neighborhood. No problem. 3,000 people attend those shows. Guess where I parked when I went to Rest Fest when there were several hundred people there right in that church? Right on that street. Do you know why I can park right in that neighborhood and a few thousand other people choose not to? Because they don't think your neighborhood is safe. Perhaps you prefer it this way. Personally I'd prefer a thriving business in the middle of my neighborhood.

As it evidenced by the ongoing conversation regarding lark street and the surrounding neighborhoods, there are obvious concerns with creating the right balance. Having bars open until 4AM is insane. Having 2000 college kids attend an event at the Armory called the Barstool Blackout Tour is a very bad idea. But having a restaurant and bar that caters to people who drink beer for the taste and are willing to pay a premium for that is something that will be good for the neighborhood.

Most local breweries will give you tours. How many of the opponents of this project have been on one?

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