Gloversville microbrewery takes shape 

Microbrewery to open in Gloversville: From left, Matt Sherman, Nick Sherman and Casey Oare, the brains and muscle behind Stump City Brewing. PHOTOGRAPHER: DANIEL FITZSIMMONS

Microbrewery to open in Gloversville: From left, Matt Sherman, Nick Sherman and Casey Oare, the brains and muscle behind Stump City Brewing. PHOTOGRAPHER: DANIEL FITZSIMMONS

Originally published in The Daily Gazette

By Daniel Fitzsimmons, December 18, 2016

For brothers Matt and Nick Sherman, along with their childhood friend, Casey Oare, nearly every weekend for the past three years has been spent building a shared dream conceived nearly six years ago in the Shermans’ garage: to open a brewery together that Gloversville could call its own.

Standing in the now-functioning brewery and taproom recently, which lacked only the finishing touches, the trio — and Stump City Brewing — have come a long way from the garage where they experimented with different homebrew recipes and fantasized about doing something bigger.

“Our motto is ‘from the ground up,’” said Matt Sherman, 34, a reference to the do it yourself-ethos that informs nearly everything they do, from building the structure that houses the brewery and taproom themselves to slogging through the mountains of state and federal paperwork required to operate a brewery.

The other defining feature of Stump City Brewing is their devotion to Gloversville and the surrounding area, and their drive to source everything — from the ingredients in their beer to construction materials — locally.

The bar in the taproom is made from the trees that were cleared to make way for their building. The ceiling is lined with corrugated sheet metal, giving it a rustic look, that a friend had stockpiled and given them. The plank floor is made of reclaimed wood from a nearby house that was gutted.

The project took three years’ worth of weekends because all three men have day jobs. Matt Sherman is a school counselor, Nick Sherman sells bus parts, and Oare is a paramedic and firefighter. Weekends were all spent bringing the dream to life.

Stump City is also taking advantage of New York’s farm brewing law, which provides incentives like decreased permitting requirements to New York-based brewers in exchange for the brewers sourcing a portion of their ingredients inside the state. The purpose of the law is to spur hop and grain production in the state and increase demand for local products.

Under the farm brewery law, at least 20 percent of the brewery’s hops must come from inside the state, and 20 percent of all other ingredients must be native to New York. Those ratios increase to 90 percent each in 2024.

But the Shermans and Oare are already there, sourcing 90 percent of their grain bill from a farm outside Rochester, and all of their hops — for now — from Goddard Tree Farm in Johnstown. Nick Sherman, 30, said there’s a need for increased hop and grain production in the state, which is ideal for growing such crops.

“It’s just a matter of convincing these farmers that there’s money to be made in growing those crops,” said Nick Sherman. “The startup costs are high.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, their name is local too. Before the area was called Gloversville it was known as “Stump City,” after all the trees that had been cut down to supply bark for the leather tanning process.

The brewery is located on West Fulton Street extension, behind the Sherman family home on land donated by the Shermans’ dad, Jerry Sherman, who is also a partner in the brewery and provided funds to help get the project off the ground.

“We grew up playing in these woods,” said Nick Sherman, looking out the back door of the brewery.

About $13,000 in additional funds was raised through an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, which Matt Sherman said was crucial to the finishing of the brewery.
“Without the Indiegogo this wouldn’t have happened,” he said, noting that contributors, depending on how much they donated, will receive perks like Stump City clothing and gear or even the chance to brew an original beer.

And while other crowdfunding campaigns might draw donations from around the world, virtually all of the donations made to Stump City were from friends, relatives and others within the group’s orbit.

“I don’t think there’s one donor we don’t know,” said Matt Sherman. “The support in the community has been huge.”

“We all grew up here,” said Casey Oare, 31. “And for the people who stayed there’s a certain amount of pride being from the area, and we want to be a part of that.”

The group’s goal is to sell beer in their taproom and at local beverage centers where people can fill up their growlers — large, reusable glass containers used to store beer for personal use — with Stump City beer. Eventually they’d like for the brewery to support one of them as a full-time employee, and from there start increasing capacity, which currently stands at around 31 gallons per batch.

They currently have three brews that will be in regular rotation at the taproom; their Cayadutta Cream Ale, which they said is a good entry point to craft beer, a pale ale and a red ale.

Oare said there’s lots of buzz around when the taproom will open, and that he gets questioned by local residents on when they’ll be able to come in for a beer.
“Everybody wants to know when we’re opening,” Oare said.

The group said they want to do a soft opening for family, friends and supporters in the coming weeks, and open the taproom to the general public in the spring.
But they’re in no rush. The Shermans and Oare take a lot of pride in the beer they make, their local roots, and building something that those in Gloversville and the surrounding area can take a measure of ownership in.

“We want to make people proud,” said Matt Sherman. “We want people to be able to say, ‘that’s my beer.’”