Southern Tier Brewery

Butler Manufacturing

Southern Tier Brewing Company in Lakewood, NY, has grown rapidly since its inception in 2002. It now produces more than 30,000 barrels of beer annually. One of the primary reasons for this rapid success is its owners’ attention to the consistent quality of its award-winning products. The company’s new building reflects that same close attention to quality and detail. Constructed with a metal building system and components from Kansas City, MO-based Butler Manufacturing, the structure’s architectural style also reflects its location.

Phineas (“Phin”) and Sara DeMink began their business in an existing building in the Stoneman Business Park — a site owned by the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency that is just miles from scenic Chautauqua Lake in the western part of the state. The area is home to a number of ski resorts, and the DeMinks wanted a brewery customized to their needs and a pub with a rustic, lodge-like appeal.

In keeping with their hands-on approach to brewing, the DeMinks chose Kessel Construction, Inc., of Bradford, PA, to be their design-build contractor. They selected a site across the street from the original building, where they could keep a close eye on construction.

“Phin talked to a number of design-build firms, and he really liked Kessel,” says company spokesperson Nathan Arnone. “Kessel had a good price, but they also had a good reputation and a solid portfolio.”

“The guys at Kessel found smarter ways to do things,” Phineas adds. “For example, we were able to take advantage of cost segregation.”

“Boiled down to basics, this is a process where we survey the scope of the project and develop a study of all elements that can be depreciated at a faster rate,” explains Kessel President Tim Asinger. “This results in less of a tax burden each year, and therefore increases cash flow.”

A Flexible Plan

Three phases of construction were planned from the start. The first to be built was a 19,250-square-foot structure. Its primary focus was, of course, the brewery.

The DeMinks needed to install more equipment in space tailored to their needs. In an area where winter temperatures can remain below freezing for months at a time, energy efficiency was an important concern. And with the company’s growing success, it would be ideal to have a building that was easy to expand. Butler® building systems would answer both these needs.

During the construction, Al Webster, Kessel’s technical advisor, coordinated concepts and design elements with the DeMinks and design-engineering professional E&M Engineers of Bradford.

The design team chose the Widespan™ structural system, which is easily expanded, allowing plenty of flexible column-free space to place the brewing equipment. It also accommodated a 2,600-square-foot mezzanine to be used for long-term storage. They topped it with a low-maintenance CMR-24® standing seam roof system, including rigid board insulation with an insulating value of R-19, and an interior steel liner panel, giving the plant ceiling a clean, finished look.

For the exterior, Kessel created high-thermal composite walls consisting of the Shadowall™ wall system, rigid board insulation with an insulating value of R-15.8, and metal liner panels for the interior walls. Outside, the Shadowall panels were accented with architectural stone veneer and wainscoting of a concrete material with a wood-like appearance.

A Cozy Pub

The Empty Pint, Southern Tier’s popular pub, originally was intended to be a separate structure. As the plans evolved, however, it became a timber structure fit within the initial building itself — and its architectural focal point. A slate tile floor, stone bar and custom-fitted cabinetry along one wall to hold gift items complete the décor. “The wood interior creates a warm appearance,” says Arnone. “It’s really, really nice.”

A cozy and comfortable retreat in winter, the pub opens onto a paved outdoor patio for warmer weather. “Post and beam construction was used to build the pub structure, and it was carried over to the outdoor patio extending from it,” says Webster.

A dramatic timber canopy capped with MR-24® metal roof panels and translucent panels extends over the patio, and a similar, smaller canopy was used for the building’s main entrance.

A Growing Business

The continuing success of Southern Tier’s award-winning ales quickly led to the construction of Phase II, a 7,500-square-foot conditioning room for the brewery with its own 1,600-square-foot mezzanine to support a box erector and bottling line.

Because climate control was critical in this area, Kessel gave it a ThermaLiner™ insulation system — best described as a “metal sandwich” — a thick fiberglass blanket between an MR-24® roof system and interior metal liner panels matching the ceiling of the main plant. It delivered an insulating value of R-25.

The company is presently reconfiguring the offices and mezzanine space within the original building. “We’re calling that Phase Two-and-a-Half,” says Arnone. And, should business continue to expand, Southern Tier will be ready.

The eventual Phase III will be a new 17,500-square-foot production room. “The structures — the first and the new addition — have all been planned to receive the expansion,” says Al Webster. “Everything, through the zoning and the structural plans, is already in place.”

An Inviting Showplace

The Southern Tier facility radiates appeal — for those who come to take weekend brewery tours, and for the locals who fill the Empty Pint.

“The appearance is just right for our area — it has just the right touch,” says Arnone.

Southern Tier has also been pleased with their contractor’s performance. The move into the initial structure had to be carefully choreographed and planned to keep the demanding production schedule moving. “We had some weather issues,” Arnone says, “but they kept us right on track. When we needed to install the equipment, they had the building ready to go.”

“They are great guys,” Phineas adds. “Simply put, we trust them; we like them. They do nice work.”

Tim Asinger returns the compliment. “Southern Tier is a pleasure to work with. And they make mighty fine brews.”

About Butler Manufacturing

Butler Manufacturing™, a division of BlueScope Buildings North America, offers metal building systems. For more information, visit

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