Us is sort of hard to explain. Like astrophysics, or finding a decent parking spot at the East Ave. Wegmans, it’s a very complex system with a lot of moving parts. Plus, it’s a really long story. But it’s also a really good one and one we love telling. It’s best told in person, though, with good food and drink at hand. And that’s maybe the most important reason why Swiftwater Brewing Company exists.
But first, a tangent. Get used to it. Ours is a somewhat tangential tale. Ray Oldenburg. Ever heard of him? His concept of The Third Place explains a good chunk of why we’re here. Swiftwater Brewing Company really began with Andy Cook, and a tight-knit group of family and friends volunteering to help. Over time the Swiftwater team grew to include neighbors and other community members, all of us in some way driven by the extremely likable premise that it’s the corners of life, the places that aren’t your home and aren’t your work, that make the years that much sweeter for everyone.
That’s our bottom line—to brighten the corners, to carve out a place where everyone’s invited to get to together with old friends, and hopefully make some new ones. Our vision is to create a space where affordable, finely-crafted food and drink accent an atmosphere of camaraderie and fellowship. But if we couldn’t make it authentic and accessible, we really didn’t see the point.
By the numbers, it was years of planning and preparation and over a year of tearing down, building up (and sometimes tearing down again and building up again). Anyone holding stock in joint compound probably made some bucks because of us. But we knew the only way to make good on Oldenburg’s idea was to literally render it in concrete and work every last inch of the business ourselves. It was a collaborative effort, working with each other and the community around us, creating a social exchange of ideas, advice, loaned tools, volunteer labor, etc.—to build our vision into something bigger than all of us.
Already Swiftwater has quickly become a place where the art of community and the science of brewing beer join together to create a lasting impression. That’s why we put the brewery equipment front and center, literally within arm’s reach. That’s why our beer is never flavored, but crafted from real, natural ingredients, many of them grown right here in New York State. It’s why every inch of the interior, including the 70 foot long bar, is highlighted with rich black walnut, milled from four felled trees, generously donated by Aurora Ridge Dairy. The entire building, inside and out, from top to bottom, has the fingerprints of helping hands all over it. It’s impossible to tell our whole story in one page. We just can’t do it, even with three English majors editing for us. We could make it work, given more space and time, but this isn’t a blog, or one of those Miles Davis records from late in his career that just go on and on…
So you’ll have to swing by and see for yourself. We’d love to tell you all about it for as long as you’re willing to listen, and for as long as the taps stay on.