The much anticipated opening of the Locust Grove Brewing Company took place on November 13 in Milton. Before the official ribbon cutting ceremony, a parade of tractors driven by local farmers came up Main Street from the Milton Fire House to a large yellow barn that is the new home of the Brewery. The project is the creation of Chip and Peggy Kent and James Kent and brings a new business to the Locust Grove Fruit Farm, a 201 year old agricultural anchor in the hamlet of Milton.
Peggy Kent said her husband Chip, “was driving a tractor and got a crazy idea” that eventually resulted in establishing the brewery.
James said they have been delivering their farm produce to New York City for the past 40 years, “and we’ve noticed a trend in the people coming here. So we decided to give them something to come here to enjoy. They can sit in the middle of our farm and look around, have a pint and something to eat and a beautiful building.”
Chip said they presently offer beer, wine and cider and have plans to make a non-alcoholic cider, an old fashioned root beer and fruit flavored seltzers.
Peggy teased the brothers about the new brewery.
“I went to work and tried to ignore as much as possible,” she said. “I tried to keep the rest of the things [on the farm] afloat while they were working on farming, building and brewing and trying to catch things that fall off of people’s plates, made sure people got something to eat, figured out where I could fit in and be helpful, run the U-pick and some of the other 10,000 jobs around here.”
Peggy credits Chip with the vision and the idea for the barn and brewery.
“Everybody else helped and executed and farmed and anything else we could do to keep it going,” she said.
James said thanks go out, “to all our friends, from Matt Kneeter, Gale Appler Jr, Country Carpenters who built the kit barn, K. Van Duser concrete, and anybody from town who was driving by, we asked do you know how to use a hammer and we gave ‘em a job.”
The Kent’s gave special thanks to Foeder Crafters of America in St. Louis, Missouri, for building the barrels. Their website describes the product. “A foeder works the same way a typical wine or spirit barrels but with a larger volume.
Because of this larger size, the beer inside is exposed to a smaller surface of wood. Foeder allows for the beer to mature and develop flavors slower than a typical barrel and this gives a brewer greater control over their beer.”
Supervisor Al Lanzetta said the brewery, “is a great addition to Milton. Thanks for their efforts, I applaud them.”
Councilman Howard Baker congratulated the Kent’s on their new venture.
“It’s fantastic and I love the cider and I’ll be back, cheers, guys,” he said.