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Clemson Bros. Brewery’s 5-Year Anniversary: A Look Back at Where it Started

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Photos Courtesy of Clemson Bros. Brewery

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To celebrate a business’ legacy is to celebrate its accomplishments. It’s a way of recognizing the years and effort put into creating a great product and providing top-notch customer service.

When Clemson Bros. Brewery celebrates their five-year anniversary this October, they’ll be honoring not one legacy, but two that are inextricably intertwined.

It all started in the late 1800s, when a highly inventive father and son duo, William Clemson and George Nathan Clemson of Clemson Bros Inc., took root on Cottage Street and Railroad Avenue in Middletown. Following three generations of expertly skilled metal smiths, the Clemson family soon became identified as the world’s pioneer of hacksaw blades, Star Hacksaws.

Fast-forward to five years ago, when a new business took residence in the former Clemson Bros Inc. manufacturing building. As industry pioneer’s, Clemson Bros Inc. established a long-lasting legacy in Middletown history. In the same vein, Clemson Bros. Brewery wanted to maintain that legacy, while introducing the Hudson Valley to one of their own.

And if anything is more apparent over the last five years, it’s that Clemson Bros. Brewery is in the midst of crafting a legacy to remember.

Five years ago, the brewery started with just four taps, four brews, and a 200 barrel-a-year operation. Now, they have 30 beers in rotation and the brewing capacity has grown to 3000 barrels a year. One of Clemson’s original beers, Lola’s Lager, is still available in rotation today.

The brewers now craft a wide variety of styles including sours, IPAs, stouts, porters, pilsners, and cream ales. This summer, they launched a new beer, I Dream of Coconuts Cream Ale, which has been a huge hit. Even more, the brewery’s canning operations have grown to currently canning five of their beers and is continuously growing.

“I am so grateful that Clemson Bros Brewery has gotten to where it is,” says owner Kenan Porter. “When I first decided to start this company, I envisioned a place where friends and family could enjoy creating memories and looking forward to revisiting. We have accomplished a lot over these past 5 years, and we look forward to the next 5 years.”

In April of 2019 Clemson Bros. Brewery expanded its operations to New Paltz, at the former site of the Glided Otter, while a third location is in the works for the hamlet of Pine Island in Warwick. The original Middletown location itself has grown into a popular wedding venue for couples interested in an industrial-chic environment with indoor and outdoor spaces.

Alongside all the growth Clemson Bros. Brewery has seen in the last five years, they’ve continually paid homage to their namesake predecessors. Often new beers and dishes will be named after some aspect of the original Clemson operation, like the Star Victor burger, referring to one main saws the manufacturer produced, or the Tower 22 double IPA, named after the original tower from the Clemson Bros. Inc. building that is still part of the factory today. The brewery itself features a number of old artifacts, like parts from the Clemson Lawnmower Division, historical articles, and black-and-white photography of old billboards.

In celebrating its five-year anniversary, Clemson Bros. Brewery is honoring a legacy that is much bigger than itself. They’re celebrating a chapter in Hudson Valley history that laid the foundation for a legacy of their own (and a delicious one, at that). The brewery will be hosting a five-year anniversary celebration this October 23, so stay close to their social media pages for more information!

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Hudson Valley Magazine editorial staff.