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Two amateur brewers turned pro by opening Perinton firm in 2012

Rochester Business Journal
November 15, 2013

At an event nearly three years in the making, the ribbon will be cut today at the new Fairport Brewing Co. location on South Main Street. The official grand opening is Saturday.
 
Co-founders Tim Garman, 49, and Paul Guarracini, 54, have recipes for 35 craft beers and are making nearly two dozen varieties now. They plan to make root beer, which should be available this weekend, and also offer T-shirts and caps.
 
The two decided in December 2010 to start a microbrewery after meeting at a home brewery club get-together. Garman is a medical device representative for Minneapolis-based Medtronic Inc. Guarracini is a supply chain manager for Eastman Kodak Co.
 
After a lengthy approval process involving federal, state and local entities, Fairport Brewing opened in April 2012 in space at 1000 Turk Hill Park, the former home of air-gun maker Crosman Corp.
 
Although they began to brew immediately, the beer could not be sold until October 2012 after the company received its final state license.
 
Garman and Guarracini opened a retail location and tap room at 99 S. Main St. in August. They employ three part-time bartenders and two part-time brewers, doing business Thursday through Saturday.
 
"We doubled the sales the day we opened the door here," says Guarracini, the company's brewmaster. "That got to be a problem because we couldn't make enough beer.
 
"We had to restrict our hours to three days a week in order to match what we could make with the small system we have. We had to buy beers from other breweries just to have something to sell."
 
Garman and Guarracini would not disclose the cost of renovating the South Main Street site.
 
"We had three estimates to do what we did here, and they came in at $60,000 to $85,000," Garman says. "What we didn't have to shell out in cash, we shelled out in sweat equity."
 
Garman's wife, Brenda, is among those who have provided extensive help.
 
"A lot of it was done on our own," Guarracini says. "We didn't hire a lot of workers, other than the heating system and things like that. We did most of the work ourselves."
 
A new brewing system, four times the size of the previous one, has since been installed at Turk Hill Park as part of an expansion whose cost is more than $100,000.
 
Free tours of the Turk Hill Park facility will be given Saturday. Tickets are required because of space limitations.
 
The older system has been moved to South Main and will be used for beer-making classes, Guarracini says.
 
Fairport Brewing hopes to be open five days a week soon, now that adequate supplies of beer are available.
 
An entity of the village of Fairport owns the property, which the brewing company leases. It was home to an insurance company for 40 years and a gas station before that.
 
"I would say that we want to be Perinton's brewer," Guarracini said. "Our sights are on the town of Perinton right now, being the source of craft beer within the town. I think that'll fill up the brewery.
 
"If we want to be Rochester's brewery, we'd need a bigger brewery. If we want to be a Western New York brewery, we're going to need another brewery. I can see that happening, but it's not going to be next year."
 
Small Business is a biweekly feature focusing on entrepreneurs. Send suggestions for future Small Business stories to Associate Editor Smriti Jacob at sjacob@rbj.net.

11/15/13 (c) 2013 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email service@rbj.net.

 


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