March 19, 2012
Dryden brewery set to open
Bacchus Brewing tapping craft beer’s popularity
Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Bacchus Brewing Co. owner David McCune stands Saturday by a fermentation tank containing an Irish red ale. The new Dryden brewery is holding a grand opening Saturday at its location on Ellis Hollow Road.
DRYDEN — David McCune and his son Ryan spent their Saturday preparing their new craft brewery for its grand opening this week.
The brewery, Bacchus Brewing Co., is scheduled to open Saturday. The company will offer three beers to start: an Irish Red Rye, a blonde pale ale and an India Pale Ale.
“I think we have a very strong lineup,” said master brewer Christina Poulos. “We have a lot of room to grow. That’s the most exciting part of the process.”
Like Homer, Virgil and Marathon, the brewery’s name plays off Greek mythology. Bacchus was the god of wine and intoxication, McCune said.
“What better way to get people thinking about local brews than to name the brewery after the party God,” McCune said with a laugh.
McCune said his brewery taps into a growing desire both locally and nationally for craft breweries. Craft brewers sold nearly 10 million barrels of beer in 2010, up from 8.9 million in 2009, according to the national Brewers Association.
“There’s a huge interest in the community,” McCune said. “Anytime someone from outside the region goes to a pub, they ask ‘What’s the local brew?’”
He says his brewing business will have retail and wholesale components. People will find its beers in local bars or purchase 64 ounce growlers or sample a few at the brewery located on Ellis Drive in Dryden.
Poulos got her start in brewing about 10 years ago and has been refining her recipes ever since. She said McCune heard about her beer and approached her about getting involved in the brewery.
“This has been a great experience,” she said.
The brewery will likely grow its beer lineup as the business gets under way, McCune said. The brewery runs a seven-barrel system and McCune says the company could produce more than 400 barrels in its first year.
“It depends on the needs,” McCune said of production. “We’ll brew as much as is needed.”
McCune is a partner at McCune & Murphy Physical Therapy, which has offices in Ithaca, Dryden and Trumansburg.
The Dryden physical therapy office is next to the new brewery in what some of McCune’s friends have now dubbed “pain-control plaza.”
McCune’s original plan was to open a fitness center in the building next to his physical therapy practice but that plan was scrapped after TC3 opened its own fitness center.
McCune said he decided the town was too small for two fitness centers and decided to change course, eventually moving toward a new plan to build a brewery.
McCune grew up in the Ithaca area and has lived there most of his life.
As he started thinking about opening his own brewery, he asked regional brewers about the business and the pitfalls to avoid.
He said that helped him avoid certain mistakes, such as putting wood or concrete floors in the brewery, which are damaged more easily than the water-resistant tile floor he chose for his brewery.
“In a lot of ways, a brewery is like an operating room and cleanliness is everything,” McCune said.
He said he became interested in brewing locally about four years ago when he began working on home brews with his son, Ryan.
“My son got me started,” McCune said. “This is something we can do together.”
He says the location for the brewery is perfect, near four colleges and lots of residents eager to try local beers.
McCune said the brewery is set for its grand opening Saturday.
“It’ll be fun to see it come to fruition,” McCune said. “We’re just excited.”
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