A glimpse into the brewing area from the taproom.
A glimpse into the brewing area from the taproom.

Olean Craft Brewery Planning Spring 2015 Opening

By Eva Potter

There’s nothing like repeating history, especially when it comes to brewing great beer, and Four Mile Brewing will soon have patrons hooked on their specialty brews.

The Olean startup has been renovating two old buildings on East Green Street in Olean, and it just so happens this was the site of a brewery more than a century ago.

The original Olean Brewery was established by Charles Dotterweich in the same building in 1856. In 1872, the building was destroyed by fire, but it was rebuilt in 1874. At the time, the brewery was capable of producing 3,000 barrels per year and employed six, until Prohibition shut down operations for a while.

For the past year, Gregg Piechota, Jaye Beattie and Nicholas Bohdanowycz, partners in Four Mile Brewing LLC, have been working to create a unique, modern-day brewpub with a nod to the past. Recently, they received a financial boost in the form of a $100,000 grant.

“City of Olean Mayor Aiello and Community Development Coordinator Mary George approached us with this grant opportunity through the state’s Community Development Block Grant Program, they thought would fit our project perfectly,” said Piechota.

This grant is specifically for their taproom operations and will be used to renovate the taproom space, purchase a walk-in cooler and tap system for the bar, and create an outdoor beer garden.

“(The grant) also allows us to purchase things like an automated growler filler and washer, which will cut down on waste and provide a better taste experience overall,” he said.

Last spring, Four Mile Brewing and Hellbender Development (a real-estate holding company) asked the Cattaraugus County Industrial Development Agency for its support in purchasing the properties at 202 and 210 E. Green St. in Olean. One is the 6,380-square-foot building being renovated for use as a brewing facility, offices and taproom, which will include industrial, pre-Prohibition décor reflective of Olean’s storied past, as well as table and bar seating for about 40. The second building will serve as a warehouse and cold storage facility.

Small-batch beers will be available in the taproom for growler fills and at certain local tap accounts. The brewery also plans to can their flagship beers and possibly their seasonals, too. Deli-style sandwiches and healthier bar food will complement the brew, and periodic live music is planned to entertain guests.

In addition, a beer garden located between the main brewery building and warehouse is sure to become a gathering spot in warmer months. A small hop garden with benches will add to the riverside ambiance.

According to Piechota, “Renovations are going well. We are getting the brewing space ready to receive the equipment, which should be arriving mid-December, and then we will start working on the public spaces.”

Piechota said the taproom and bar will be the last areas to be finished and estimated renovations will total around $200,000.

“We have purchased a 15-barrel brewing system from Premier Stainless out of San Diego. In addition to the brewing system, we ordered three 15-barrel fermenters and one 30-barrel fermenter, along with a 15-barrel and 30-barrel conditioning tank to start with,” he said.

Future plans include a canning line for retail sales.

“In the taproom, we are in the process of ordering a growler filling station along with a growler wash station. This will allow us to clean and sanitize your growler before we fill it, and then purge your growler with CO2 to remove oxygen (which will oxidize beer and kill flavor over time) and then fill your growler with zero waste,” he explained. “In doing this, the beer you take home in the growler will remain fresh in your refrigerator for a longer period of time.”

The total cost of brewing equipment and the growler filler/washer will cost about $320,000.

Piechota said they plan to produce about 1,500 barrels the first year and increase production to about 3,500 barrels within the next three years.

Ready for some mouthwatering descriptions of Four Mile Brewing selections?

“Our three main beers, to begin with, will be a Pale Wheat Ale, an IPA, and a Black IPA. The Pale Wheat Ale is our classic summertime beer that would go great on the golf course, out for a hike, or on a boat. This beer will be the first beer we package in cans so that you can enjoy it anywhere,” said Piechota.

“Our IPA is a hop head’s dream, with abundant citrus, pine and floral aromatics, and was created by our assistant brewer, Craig Clark. Our Black IPA is deceptively smooth for its color, with a piney chocolate flavor and aroma. After these, we plan on having a rotation of seasonal beers as well as experimental one-offs that are looking to make the cut into permanent rotation.”

Four Mile Brewing was anticipated to open in the fall of 2014, but plans were pushed to 2015 when more time was needed to apply for the grant. They are now planning a spring opening.

“We are hoping to do some soft openings by March and a larger grand opening to follow later in the spring, when we finish the outdoor seating area,” said Piechota.

Piechota and his partners are grateful for the positive reception they have received.

“We would not be where we are today without the amazing cooperation and support we’ve received from the local governments and agencies, friends, family, and the community. We still have a long way to go moving forward, but we can’t wait to thank everyone by creating a destination for great local beer!” he said.

Follow the brewery’s progress on their Facebook page at https://facebook.com/fourmilebrewing.