SARATOGA SPRINGS — Nine months after shutting down, the Olde Saratoga Brewing Co. could soon have new owners: Manhattan-based 212 Brewing Co., which was the high bidder at an August auction of the Excelsior Avenue brewery's assets.
In its bid, 212 Brewing agreed to pay $660,000 for assets like storage tanks and furniture.
Olde Saratoga closed suddenly in January, after its parent company, Mendocino Brewing of California, ran into financial problems.
Don Trooien, founder of 212 Brewing Co., said on Monday that he would like the Spa City brewery to become a community attraction, with an expanded tasting room and new event space. Trooien is familiar with the brewery because 212 contracted with Old Saratoga to be its main brewer about three years ago. That ended after Olde Saratoga began to run late on deliveries and started asking for cash up front.
"Saratoga is one of the oldest New York breweries and one of the top 10 largest breweries [in the state] until it closed, so I think it had a great following, and it's pretty well known as a New York brewing facility," Trooien said. "I love Saratoga and never really wanted to stop brewing there.
"They had their own financial challenges, as we all know about, and that started to trickle down for the people they were contracting for," Trooien said.
Stewart's Shops, which owns the plot where the brewery sits, said Monday afternoon that they had not received any formal or informal offers for purchase.
While his main challenge remains financing the project, Trooien said he's confident the staying power of craft beer and the various attractions in Saratoga Springs will make for an appealing investment.
"Our goal is button it up, tighten it up, and make it more of an integral part of the community, with a much much larger tasting room, and make it more of a venue to have events at and really showcase the whole brewing facility and brewing process," Trooien said of the Excelsior Avenue location.
212's beer is brewed now in Cazenovia. Trooien said that, ideally, he'd like to end his contract there and move the whole operation to Saratoga.
Trooien also cited the water quality of Saratoga Springs as being a major selling point.
Trooien said the deal is risky on his end, but he is confident enough in the city of Saratoga Springs and the broader success of craft beer for it to come to fruition.
"Craft beer is very hot right now, and I don't see that changing, given the quality of breweries in the U.S. now and the shift in consumer preference, which is almost irreversible."