Here’s another in our continuing series of new posts featuring a look at news happening around Rochester.
Local Victor microbrewery, VB Brewery, opened its doors to the public on January 16. Tom Bullinger, brewmaster and owner, runs the brewery with the help of his wife, Catherine. The couple happily serves a wide selection of craft beers, ranging from “light cream ales to bitter IPAs and Belgians and porter,” brewmaster Bullinger said in an interview with The Democrat & Chronicle. The brewery boasts eight unique brews, two separate brewing systems, a red oak and black walnut tasting space, and a show room.
The Bullingers hosted the first of many community brew nights, tailored to home brewers, on January 28; plans are also in the works for monthly beer appreciation nights, which will feature brewing demonstration and classes. “A lot of people are beer nerds, and we set up the community brew night so about 10 to 12 home brewers can come in at a time, and bring their own beer for everyone to sample and critique and suggest improvements,” Tom Bullinger told the Fairport-East Rochester Post. Patrons can also enjoy private tours, private instruction, parties, bus tours, and private tastings at the new microbrewery.
The couple holds one of few Farm Brewers licenses in the state. (As of last October, only 14 New York State breweries earned the same license, The Democrat & Chronicle reports.) The opening of VB Brewery comes in light of a growing microbrewery market — and appreciation — in the Rochester area.
Governor Andrew Cuomo weighed in on the emerging trend, saying “With the opening of 14 farm breweries since January  and a nearly 100 percent increase in our microbreweries, it is clear that New York’s craft beer industry is booming – and this is just the beginning.”
Many would argue that the emergence of Rochester breweries began over a century ago, when the Aqueduct Spring Brewery opened in 1819. The brewery was up and running 15 years before the official establishment of the city of Rochester, historian Ruth Rosenberg-Napersteck adds. Although the Prohibition movement shut down many of Rochester’s powerhouse breweries, the Genesee Brewery is alive and well, and remains the nation’s sixth largest brewery today.
VB Brewery’s grand opening celebration on March 1, and the recent unveiling of Black Button Distillery on January 25 (working closely with next-door microbrewery Rohrbach Brewing Co.), is likely to draw crowds of craft beer lovers into Rochester. Brewery’ staff reminds patrons to drink responsibly and drive safe, especially after tastings. Some discretion will guarantee everyone’s enjoyment, and prevent consumers from contributing to the two million Americans who are hospitalized with severe injuries (many owing to drinking and driving) every year.