Denning’s Point Distillery: A Booze of Our Own.
It seems our town has always enjoyed it’s drink.
During the heyday of our beloved city’s industrial boom, a local newspaper noted that the temperance movement had utterly failed in what would one day become Beacon. “It is almost a useless effort, someone counted 160 saloons from the Long Wharf to the Mountains.”
Before prohibition there were hundreds if not thousands of distilleries operating throughout New York, which was the undisputed rye whiskey producing capitol of the United States if not the world. Flash ahead some eighty or ninety years and all that is left of that legacy of great distillers are a handful of craft distilleries. Thankfully these ambitious entrepreneurs have finally returned to New York and have rekindled the tradition of distilling high quality spirits for the benefit of all.
Karl Johnson of Denning’s Point Distillery is soon to be one of those distillers. Elated when I hard the news that he was opening a new distillery here in Beacon I rushed over to get an interview. I found Mr. Johnson finishing up the touches on his bar’s new roof and all too happy to indulge my questions with the dignified manner of a true midwestern gentleman. I can only hope that the publicity generated by my humble efforts will lead me a nice bottle of rye in the near future.
Keenan Boyd: So are you guys Beaconites? Do you live in Beacon now, and why did you choose Beacon when considering where to open your new distillery?
Karl Johnson: We live in northern New Jersey now, but I grew up on a farm in Minnesota, a six-thousand acre farm. I started driving a pick-up truck when I was twelve.
KB: Oh wow.
KJ: My father was a geneticist that bred sunflowers. He actually did his PHD dissertation on breeding barley for beer. So we’ve got a little family history there.
But going back to your question, we chose Beacon after looking at a number of communities in the Hudson Valley for a variety of reasons. First we really liked the vibe of the community; the little Brooklyn feeling, the foot traffic and the easy access to Manhattan. We also liked the growth that the community seemed to be experiencing. I’d been coming up to Beacon for many years, mostly attracted by the Dia, and we were members there for a long time, and we’ve been able to watch Beacon really improve and change over the past few years.
We were also looking for a place that was open to new things, friendly, had affordable businesses. Not every town we looked at was that way. We’ve had a lot of support from the Mayor and the building department in getting through the processes that need to be done. You know we’re really looking forward to working with them, they’ve been really great.
Botsford Briar Bed and Breakfast: Picturesque Victorian Beauty at the top of High Street.
Keenan Boyd: So Shirley Botsford, are you a native Beaconite? Why did you decide to restore this particular property here in Beacon in 1994?
Shirley Botsford: I was born in Texas. Austin, Texas. I moved to Pennsylvania, Bethlehem Pennsylvania specifically, when I was about three or four.
I decided to move to Beacon because I was working at the Beacon Peace and Die Textile plant. I was a textile designer in the city, and I had come up through the long green tunnel. I had come up from the Palisades and through the little bridge with the trees, and to do my strike offs and textile work, color matching and so forth, at the plant. I decided right then and there when I saw the architecture and the Victorians here that I really didn’t want to go back to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
2-Way Brewing Company: A Brew of Our Own
Keenan Boyd: Why did you decide to bring your brewery here to Beacon? Do you live in Beacon now?
Michael O’Herron: When I started out with opening the brewery I started to do research about a lot of different locations all over the country. At the time I was in Boulder, Colorado, which is arguably the beer capitol of the United States. But there were some concerns that Boulder was reaching a saturation level, and I kinda’ wanted to get out of there so…I looked around in this area and Beacon was kind of one of the only cities here in the Valley that doesn’t have a Brewery. Plus it has an ideal location on the train line and everything. It made me think that Beacon was kind of prime for a brewery. So far I think I’ll be the first one open here.
KB: Yeah, you guys are right next to the train station! That’s great.
MO: Yeah, the location here next to the Metro North Station has been a huge plus. I didn’t even realize the amount of foot traffic that West Main Street gets, but after putting in some pretty long hours here I can see that a lot of people end up walking here from the train station, which isn’t something that I thought would happen a lot, so that’s been pretty cool to see.
So early last month Meghan Petersen of the New York Times published an article in the Well section of their online editorial blog called Gadgets to Boost Bike Safety.
She wisely commented that one of the main challenges facing bicyclists and advocates for the continued improvement and funding for bike lanes and bike programs in major urban centers was that many people feel that riding a bike in the city is still a very dangerous activity. Sadly, in many respects they are not wrong in their thinking. The data regarding hit and runs and pedestrian accidents in major US Cities over the past few year has been alarming.