SOUTH GLENS FALLS — Three weeks after a fire devastated their brewery and tap room, Common Roots Brewing Company is making progress in the effort to rebuild.
The owners will be opening a small temporary taproom two blocks from the damaged headquarters, their crowdfunding campaign to pay for reconstruction has far exceeded its original goal and still is trending, a design firm has been retained for the rebuild, and nearly three dozen breweries will join for a beer festival to benefit the idled employees of Common Roots.
Other Capital Region brewers already have held fundraisers for Common Roots’ recovery efforts, in what is only the latest display of the camaraderie that defines the craft beer community.
“I think we’ve been blown away by the support,” said brand manager Kalyn Weber, daughter of co-founder Bert Weber and sister of co-founder/head brewer Christian Weber.
“Not that we didn’t know we have amazing support in the industry. We’ve just been continuously in awe.”
A March 25 fire heavily damaged the brewery and taproom at 58 Saratoga Ave. Investigators determined an exhaust duct leaked enough heat to ignite wood in a wall and roof, she said.
Their shock at the loss notwithstanding, the Webers said the important thing was that no one was hurt. They thanked the firefighters from a half-dozen departments who’d battled the blaze, then set about trying to rebuild.
“We’ll be back in the original place,” Kalyn Weber said.
The Webers founded Common Roots in 2013 and opened the taproom in 2014. The opportunity exists to create better space — the site was a converted commercial building — and they’ve retained Phinney Design Group to do that.
“I think it will be pretty different,” Kalyn Weber said.
The company brewed about 5,000 barrels of beer a year for distribution across New England and New York and had its own canning system on site. Some of the equipment may be salvageable, and the hope is to increase production capacity with the rebuild.
Help with the project is coming from multiple corners:
- Miller Mechanical is leasing space at 30 Saratoga Ave. to Common Roots, which has set up a three-barrel brewing system there. This will serve as a temporary taproom and put some of the 20 full- and part-time employees back to work in the interim.
- A GoFundMe campaign set up after the fire quickly exceeded its $10,000 goal. The goal was revised to $50,000 and as of Tuesday afternoon, $37,628 had been donated by 305 people in 19 days, and the campaign was trending on the GoFundMe website. Proceeds will pay costs not covered by insurance and support employees.
- A benefit festival titled Rising From The Ashes will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. May 4 at the Singlecut North brewery in Clifton Park. Singlecut and 31 other brewers will participate in the event, which will include food trucks. Tickets are $42, and net proceeds will go to the Common Roots staff fund.
Sadly enough, the Webers had begun work on an expansion just a few days before the fire. They’d planned to have more taproom and retail space, a private bar, an outdoor deck and a kitchen completed by mid-summer.
“The irony there is — it’s tough,” Kalyn Weber said.
She said the rebuild will improve aesthetics and functionality while retaining the sense of community and quality beer that Common Roots had developed.
“Obviously there’s a culture we want to preserve,” she said.