Honey & Brews: SEEC grants go to Wayward Lane farm friends


Story and photos By Patsy Nicosia Times Journal, August 19, 2020 

Andrew Rowles had the place; three friends from college had the idea.

Together the four are now Hop House Farm and Wayward Lane Brewing, two new Town of Schoharie businesses and two of the latest recipients of SEEC’s $2,500 Resiliency Fund grants.

SEEC’s Executive Director Julie Pacatte and Resiliency Fund Chairman Jim Pacatte got a firsthand look at the Ward Lane businesses Thursday.

Mr. Rowles is already producing honey and beeswax products at his Hop House Farm and will use his grant for equipment that will make that process faster and easier.

Wayward Lane Brewing is Mr. Rowles and friends and Colorado transplants Abbie Hansen, Kyle Bergen, and Adam Rosenthal.

Their Wayward Lane Brewing will be the first craft brewery in Schoharie, and they hope to have their tasting room open by year’s end.

Their grant will also go toward build-out equipment.

Originally from Massachusetts, Mr. Rowles spent a lot of time on his grandparents’ Schoharie dairy farm growing up and since 2014, had been searching for ways to bring it back into agriculture.

Meanwhile, out near Boulder, Ms. Hansen, Mr. Bergen and Mr. Rosenthal were researching places to start a craft brewery in an already crowded—and expensive— market.

“I’d tried some different things and decided that I liked bees the most,” Mr. Rowles said. “I knew they were looking so I threw the idea out there: Why not visit Schoharie?”

Ms. Hansen said they immediately fell in love with the 65- acre property and Mr. Rosenthal said they also saw the potential of upstate New York and Schoharie County.

The Hop House part of their name isn’t just good marketing; their main building—now substantially renovated—is the farm’s former hop house.

“It’s a really intriguing partnership,” said Mr. Becker. “We were impressed by their business plan and the grants they’ve already been awarded.”

The reference to their business plan drew laughter from Mr. Bergen, who said they’ve probably written it four times already.

“It’s constantly evolving,” he said. But that’s important and essential, Ms. Pacatte said, and she’s excited by the partners’ plans to meld agriculture and agritourism.

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