While recently out walking behind the main building at Heston Farm in Fairmont, WV, several new stainless steel tanks were spotted sitting on wooden pallets. They looked an awful lot like brewing equipment.
For the past couple of years, the folks at Heston Farm have said they might add a small brewery to their popular winery-distillery-restaurant complex. So I asked Heston Farm owner Mickey Heston what was up with those tanks.
Heston replied that, yes, they were bright/serving tanks that he planned to use in his brewery, but just when he’d get the project going he wasn’t sure. He originally would have liked to have opened his brewery before the end of 2015, but that won’t happen.
Seems he had hoped to utilize some of the space and possibly equipment in his existing distillery room, but discovered the state alcohol regulators like to keep distilleries and breweries in separate spaces or rooms. He’ll have to figure that out and decide how proceed.
One option would to close-in an outdoor area next to the distillery space and plumb it for a brewery. He stills need to purchase a pub-sized brewhouse and sufficient fermentation tanks to supply beer to his restaurant. Hopefully, Heston will build enough capacity to allow the brewery to fill growlers and possibly do a special bottle release now and then. He is still researching his equipment needs.
The good guess for when the Heston brewery might open seems to be summer 2016. The outdoor restaurant space in front of the main Heston Farm building would sure make a great beer garden.
Heston Farm has had a lot of success with its winery/distillery complex since it opened several years ago. It is probably the best implementation of an integrated craft beverage complex in the state. The Foxfire restaurant has a good selection of food and is popular for lunch, supper, and special events. It attracts both locals and tourists.
Live entertainment brings in the crowds on weekend evenings. At the country store and tasting room Heston sells not only his wines and spirits, but also a variety of other West Virginia-made specialty foods and crafts. Being just a short hop off the I-79 exit greatly helps draw travelers off the highway.
Heston Farm distilled spirits line makes you smile
Heston’s Pinchgut Hollow Distillery packages much of its corn whiskey and moonshine-based liqueurs in their signature upside-down pig bottle. The unique bottle design has proved to be a real plus for sales.
They source their corn from West Virginia farmers. They are one of only two U.S. distilleries making buckwheat whisky. Heston gets his buckwheat nearby in Preston County, WV.
The Pinchgut Hollow line always has a group of interesting flavored-moonshine products. Ramps, hot peppers, and rhubarb are just a few of them. No one should be surprised if their upcoming brewery makes some beers with fun flavors too.
Heston Farm wines have achieved broad distribution within the state at both specialty liquor/wine stores and in supermarket chains, such as Kroger and Walmart.
With the popularity Heston has achieved with his wines, liquors and restaurant, there is no doubt that a brewery would be a great addition and bring even more customers out to Heston Farm.
1602 Tulip Lave