Rochester’s sixth brewery moves toward July opening
For the past month, brewer Adam Fredericksen has started each day with a plan in mind for getting Thesis Beer Project, Rochester’s sixth brewery, ready for opening day.
More often than not, the day has other ideas, sometimes good ideas, sometimes not so good, sometimes downright awful ideas.
One tough day was when building inspectors told him had to install a specific type of brewery floor, a $20,000 cost Fredericksen hadn’t built into his budget.
“Those are the days where you go home and say, ‘That was a bad day,’” Fredericksen said.
But through it all, the delays, cost overruns and headaches, Fredericksen and his wife and co-owner Allyson Palmer have been buoyed by a shared vision for their brewery on Rochester’s Uptown corridor — and by the supporters who have bankrolled that vision.
When, halfway through the renovation, costs exceeded the couple’s original budget, the project was kept alive by a second round of investors swayed by their concept for the business and the area.
“We have been absolutely blown away by the feedback and support we’ve gotten from the community, from our investors, from our family and friends,” Fredericksen said. “We wouldn’t have been able to do this without a number of people coming together and believing in this project.”
Fredericksen’s to-do list has now become more manageable. The brewhouse and tanks are set to arrive on Monday. If all goes according to plan, Thesis Beer Project will open in early July.
The business is located on the west end of the Second Street Southwest building that houses Tyrol Ski & Sports. While all of Rochester’s breweries are located either downtown or in northwest Rochester, Thesis is the first to open in southwest Rochester.
Making great beer is at the heart of the couple’s vision, Fredericksen said, but also creating an atmosphere built on music, art, and “bringing people to together.” Murals and bright colors will grace the walls on both the inside and outside of the building.
As customers enter through a back entrance, the brewhouse and tanks will be on their right. People will be able to sit along a long bar to watch the beer being made. On the left, as you walk further up the hallway, will be the taproom, another bar and sitting area. There is space for bands to play.
“We wanted this place to accomplish a few things,” Fredericksen said. “Obviously, creating more great beer is one. More live music and more activity on Second Street here on the Uptown corridor.”
Fredericksen noted that more than 10,000 vehicles pass the brewery site on Second Street each day. The traffic will not only make up a part of his customer base, but it creates a bustling tempo he wants to see matched by the ambiance inside the brewery.
The project’s five-barrel, eight-fermenter system means the menu of beers will be updated at a faster pace than many other breweries.
“This system is designed to allow us to be creative, fun and to tap, hopefully, two or three new beers every week,” Fredericksen said. “So every time anybody comes in here and sits down, there should be something new, something fresh, something exciting on tap.”
Thesis Beer Project will be the sixth brewery to open in Rochester since 2012. Fredericksen understands the value of differentiating his brewery from the others. And it will be different, he said. But it won’t be different for the sake of difference.
“I need to be able to be creative,” Fredericksen said. “If I’m coming in here every day, and brewing the same flagship beer, this isn’t going to be worth it for me.”
There are two schools of thought about how a sixth brewery will impact the others. One says that it will slice up a static customer base and reduce profits for the others. Others say that it enhances Rochester as a beer destination, making it a draw for beer-lovers to come to Rochester from other places.
The city’s beer market still has room to grow, argues one area expert.
“I think Rochester can still support quite a few new breweries,” said Louis Livingston-Garcia, an avid writer on brewing and breweries. “I know Adam well enough to know that he has a specific vision for what beer he wants to make. He is going to have his own flavor and style.”