ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — This weekend, a new brewery opened in Rochester. As a state and city with an immense craft beer industry, perhaps this isn’t surprising. Heroes Brewing Co. is now open in the back lot of the Atlantic Ave./Culver Ave. plaza.
It’s an area that is filled with revitalization; from the new “Sticky Soul & BBQ,” to ROAR, to a new indoor dog park, it’s a perfect place. In fact, Heroes is in the same spot as Lost Borough Brewing; no thanks to a friendship that spawned between the former owner and the new owners that started in a Wegmans craft beer section.
It took five years, but now the business is working through all of the new challenges of a brand new business, plus orange zone restrictions.
But co-owner Greg Fagen –— who has also worked as a volunteer firefighter — who himself started as home brewer himself, found true success with his beer when he joined forces with his now co-owner and brewmaster, Phil Boulanger. The two competed in a home brewer competition, and even though neither of them won, they wanted to team up.
“Phil is so OCD,” Fagen said. “But I think that’s the quality you want in brewer.”
But Heroes Brewing Co. was also born with a purpose:
Shining a light on everyday heroes.
“When we were looking at names, we were looking at all those same funny, cooky names,” said Greg Fagen, one of the co-owners of Heroes. “One we day (my wife and I) were sitting at the dinner table, and I asked what is something anyone can be.
“And I said, ‘anyone can be a hero.'”
From there, the goal was obvious. Creating a brewery that of course had the great New York craft beer, but also served as a way to “shine a light” on everyday heroes. They do this by contributing a portion of sales of each beer to a different charity or cause.
Once they’re open to public, they will keep a running tally visible of all of the money they’ve donated to each cause.
“We want to be as transparent as possible,” he said.
51/49 American Light Lager
Fagen says this inspired on their “relationship principle.” He says that instead of inequitable friendships, everyone should give 51%, so the friendship has 102%.
A portion of the proceeds from these cans go to the Beechwood Neighborhood Coalition.
Justintime Irish Red Ale
This beer was inspired by a family friend of Fagen’s. Justin, who has Down Syndrome. Fagen says they wanted to shine a light on the contributions everyone can make.
A portion proceeds from this beer will go to Flower City Down Syndrome Network.
Let’s Go Fishin’ Kölsch
This beer was named for a father of Fagen’s childhood friend. He would take him fishing, and according to Fagen, it was no small task given his energy level.
A portion of the proceeds from this beer will be go the Powder Mills Park Fish Hatchery.
Walter’s Warriors American IPA
Walter a sick cat that Lollypop Farm brought in a long time ago. But Walter not only healed, he thrived. He became a greeter, mascot, and comforted pets out of surgery.
A portion of the proceeds from these cans go to Lollypop Farm.
It took five long years — along with pandemic delays that are all too common — but Heroes is already hitting the ground running.
Since they opened during the pandemic, Fagen had the foresight to can 100 cases of beer ahead of their release, in “case” of a second wave of the virus. It paid off.
They’ve already sold 65 cases since Sunday.
Like any brewery, they’re just trying just get through each day, but Fagen as his co-owner team of his wife, Boulanger, and Jerry Wheaton (according to Fagen, part of the 1% of Black brewery owners in the country), want Heroes to also become a community space.
In the meantime, Fagen is running off another 125 cases of canned beer just to keep up. They’ve also started a fundraising campaign to buy their own canning equipment.