POMPEY, NY – Dan Palladino knew that he needed to add another source of revenue to his 600-acre farm for it to compete long-term in commodities, he just didn’t know where that money stream would come from.
“Well you ought to turn this [farm] into a brewery,” Palladino recalled his workers jokingly telling him a few years ago as they fixed a heating unit.
Palladino laughed it off.
A few years later, Palladino is now the man behind Heritage Hill Brewhouse and Kitchen, which is ready for its Oktoberfest-style opening this Saturday. It’s the latest addition to an already record-setting 400 breweries in the state of New York.
Known for its meats and cattle, the farm has been in the Palladino family since 1951. The farm also produce hay, grains, corn and malt barley on the enormous property. It’s all being used in the new brewery, which will have a changing menu depending on what’s available on the farm and in the local market.
Palladino says that 95 percent of what’s consumed in New York State can be grown in the state, but it’s brought in from elsewhere. He wants to change this.
“What I say is let’s take that back, let’s really everyone jump on board with buying local and then you’ll support agriculture, you’ll support business,” said Palladino, who also serves as the president of the Onondaga County Farm Bureau.
The brewery was built on the site of Palladino’s old farm equipment dealership that burned down in 1979. He always knew he wanted to do something with it, and now it’s the site of a farm brewery that serves unique craft beers made from their own grains.
“Once people converted to drinking craft beers, they can’t drink commercially produced beer,” Palladino said with a laugh.
John Frazee is an award-winning brewer who has returned home to Pompey to join forces with Palladino. Frazee, now the head brewer at Heritage Hill Brewhouse and Kitchen, won the 2016 World Beer Cup Silver for a Belgian Fruit Beer. It’s the most prestigious international beer competition there is, Frazee says.
Frazee is nervous for the grand opening this weekend, but there’s one thing, he says, that makes him feel more comfortable.
“Most of the beers are ready and they’re tasting good,” Frazee said.