Our Story

About Us

For us, good living means exploring – the opposite of “comfortable.” It’s not just about craft, but about questing, questioning, transforming “What If” into “Here’s How,” by way of an experiment so crazy, it just might work.

Exploration is the line from local beer maker to World-Class Brewer. It’s a pioneer impulse, and it sets the authentic, rural heartbeat of Southern Tier. It’s how we got here. And by the time others catch up, it’ll be why we’re already somewhere else.

From our wildly innovative founder, Phin DeMink, who’s still a daily inspiration, to the new generation of brewers, thinkers, and drinkers who share our pursuit of what’s next, we keep honing the creative edge of brewing discovery.

So this is an open invitation, to anyone who gives a damn about the difference between a well-crafted beer and a stunningly satisfying encounter with the new. Join us on the road less traveled.

Our Story

The Beginning


Founders Phineas DeMink, Sara DeMink and Allen “Skip” Yahn started the brewery with the vision of reviving small-batch brewing to a region rich in brewing tradition. With equipment from the Old Saddleback Brewing Co. in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, the Southern Tier Brewing Company began production in the woods just outside of Lakewood, New York.


On April 7,2003, Southern Tier held its grand opening with the original lineup IPA, Pilsner, Mild and Porter and began to distribute small batch ales locally.


As one of the pioneers of the dessert stout, Southern Tier launched the Blackwater Series Imperial Stout line with bold, decadent flavors. This has opened the door for innovative new stout segments over the years like pastry stouts.


Sales rapidly grew across New York State and Pennsylvania before adding a successful roster of seasonal beers to the portfolio.


Southern Tier added a 20,000 sq-ft building to the property to keep up with the rapidly growing demand nationally and internationally. The new building included 800 barrels of fermentation vessels, new 20 barrel and 50 barrel systems, a 7,500 sq ft conditioning room and the most high-tech, state-of-the-art bottling line of its size in North America, bottling 10,000 bottles per hour at full speed.


Southern Tier’s cellar was expanded to allow for more than 3,200 BBL of fermentation space.

Our Growth


Southern Tier began the installation of a 110 Barrel Steinecker Brewhouse. Built in Germany, Southern Tier actually assembled the building around the new brewhouse. Overlooking the new brewhouse, is the Brewhouse Tasting Room, which is also the ending point of the Saturday afternoon tours. With 14 fresh draft lines, a fireplace and a cozy vibe, it is a pleasant place to enjoy samples of our many beers. The Brewhouse Tasting Room is perfect for private events (call 716.763.5479×204 to book yours).


Autumn 2013 saw more construction on our expanding campus. A 45,000-sq-ft warehouse and distribution center was built as well as a wastewater treatment facility and “Yeast wing.” The yeast parlor includes automated yeast propagation and storage. Yeast is harvested at 3-4 days old, extracted and drawn (approximately 24BBL x 3 tanks) 5BBL from 100 BBL of fermenting beer. Yeast is held in “suspended animation”. Wort stream from the brewhouse goes through yeast parlor, then to FV.


2016 was a big year. Southern Tier opened the distillery, launched a packaging refresh, and announced the partnership with Victory Brewing Company. Two new 30BBL fermenters arrived, along with a 2-barrel nano-brewhouse. We began testing batches of new and innovative brews that you can taste in our taprooms. Speaking of the bar…we raised the bar when we installed a state-of-the-art canning line & began canning some of our most popular ales & lagers. The busy year finished by improving Quality Assurance with a new automatic fill-level check from Filtec and implementing new programs in Safety. Last, but not least, computer tech in the cellar and a new automatic palletizer were installed.


Like the folks that call this region home, rather than sit back and simply toast all that hard work, the team jumped into 2017 – opening Southern Tier’s first satellite taproom opened in Pittsburgh, PA. The North Shore (316 N. Shore Dr.) facility boasts a full kitchen, a 10 hL German-built brewhouse, local-only beers + STBC favorites and a 10,000 sq. ft. beer garden.


Southern Tier’s second satellite taproom opened in Cleveland, OH.