October 25, 2021

Hopshire Farm’s brewery, band space grows

Bob Ellis/staff photographer

Randy Lacey, co-owner of Hopshire Farm and Brewery at 1771 Route 13 in Freeville, is shown inside the operation’s new addition. When it’s opened, the addition will be used to host events related to the brewery.

FREEVILLE — Every Friday night, the Hopshire Farm and Brewery, off Route 13, is loaded with customers ordering glasses and samples of the eight beers on tap, and enjoying the band of the night.

At times, the parking lots overflow and the crowded brewery and tasting room must turn some people away.

With a packed house every Friday and indications that some people were avoiding the crowded atmosphere, owners Randy Lacey and Diane Gerhart decided it was time to expand.

The $300,000 project will see extensions to the western side of the building and to the eastern end, which will expand the brewery section.

Construction on the west end broke ground in mid-September, adding to the tasting room. The addition will house 100 people and be used as an event room, Lacey said.

He said this space will get everyone out of the brewery, where the bands usually play, and give the customers a more comfortable, open area to enjoy the music, beer and food. The brewery does not cook its own food, but each Friday night hosts caterers or food trucks.

“Diane and I are not looking to run a restaurant,” Lacey said.

There will also be a wooden stage outside for the bands during the summer, where the brewery can host even more people using its vast outdoor space and the new addition.

Lacey said with the new space he would like to have special breakfast and lunch offerings, and increase other special events such as cheese and beer tastings, and yoga — which currently take place every Wednesday in the brewery section.

“I’m excited,” Gerhart said. “I want everyone to have a high-quality experience. I like people to feel comfortable here. Some say it feels like they are in someone’s house when they are here.”

She added that their customers enjoy being able to speak with her and Lacey at their special events.

“Most customers we have, we know very well,” Lacey said.

Lacey and Gerhart hope the addition will attract more customers and further the growth of the business. Lacey said he already has plans to expand the parking lot.

The event room is expected to be completed in February. Although Lacey said there is no date set, yet, he does plan to have four bands playing throughout the day for the grand opening.

Construction on the brewery section of the building is set to begin next spring or summer. The additional space will provide more room for keg storage and a large keg-washing area. Once both construction projects are completed, the brewery will receive a $50,000 economic development grant from the state, according to Lacey.

He said he and Gerhart never expected to begin expanding already after just two years in business. But they are enjoying the experience and the entertainment they provide for their customers.

“It is all just fun… a good time,” Lacey said.