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Jess Mead

Homeless man holding a sign that reads "seeking human kindness"

Holiday 2022

By FoundersMessages

While driving home from the brewery just before Thanksgiving, I was listening to a program about immigration on our local NPR station. The man interviewed was asked how he felt when it seemed no one cared. He said something that struck me as very profound. He replied, “The heart cannot feel what the eyes do not see.”

I thought how true that is for many of us. It is hard to feel or have empathy for someone or a cause if we don’t see it or have been affected by it. This all happened on the same day that I came across a man experiencing homelessness on one of my favorite dog walks in the woods of Moreau Town Park. I have taken this trail many times and, on this day, after a recent snowfall, I came upon a man who had taken shelter in the woods. I apologized for disturbing him with my dogs, he made no eye contact, said nothing, and started to break his camp. I wish I would have asked him if he needed help but was honestly too startled by the whole experience.

We all know that, particularly during this holiday season, we have members of our community that are struggling and could use a helping hand. The hard truth is that these needs are year-round and not just during this holiday season. In that light, I am especially proud that, between the Brewery and the Foundation, we have been able to collaborate with several local organizations that not only “see” the problems, but they also act and lend a hand to help.

With your support this past year, our Foundation has contributed over $36,000 in donations to help lift our community in areas we don’t always see. I wish we could do more as the need is great and our resources are finite. During this special season, all of us at the Foundation and Common Roots Brewing Company are thankful for your continued support and willingness to be involved.

We are especially thankful to our corporate sponsor, Boralex Hydro, for their generous support of the Foundation and our mission to lift our community. If you haven’t done so already, please consider donating to or joining our Foundation to lend a helping hand to many of our local organization that continue to be our eyes and an open portal to our hearts.

Cheers and best wishes from all of us at Common Roots Brewing Company and the Common Roots Foundation!

Foundation Video Transcript

By Uncategorized

Building a brewery was – although my father and I maybe took the brunt of it – was a community, it was a family effort. It was family and friends; everyone was included in it. This was truly the brewery that the community built.

Beer (and breweries) I think is a great vehicle to do more than just sell beer. We thought, you can balance making beer, drinking beer, and still being a very active person and being socially conscious.

Bert and I both left a long career, and you’re losing a community at that point. And we walk into Common Roots after building this, and we found another community.

We want to help support the community, but I think we’re here as a steward of that. And I think that the trust the community maybe has is something that we helped develop throughout the last six or seven years that we’ve been in business for.

Before I left the brewery I would go around and I would just thank the brewery. Tap a fermenting vessel and say, “Thank you. This was good.” The night that I learned that the brewery had caught fire, it was probably a really good day at the brewery honestly. It was jamming. We were packed, all the fermenting vessels were filled, we had just packaged a bunch of beer, the distributors had picked up, we had a taproom full of happy people.

I remember hearing this crackle. And it’s the crackle you hear when you’re around a fireplace or outside or something. And I remember my heart sank.

It was hard. It was hard coming over the bridge. And seeing the smoke, the fire engines and… Yeah that was really really hard.

Our dreams go up in smoke, and it became almost like an out of body experience standing there watching this happen.

So many people just started showing up. And the building is still smoking. And there was this energy that was starting to fester. And it eventually became enormous and became contagious.

The night of the fire, we had this one idea of community. When the fire happened we realized we had created a community much larger.

We were able to rebuild. And now we can really say that this is the brewery that the community built. So what else can we do now to keep paying that forward, to keep that momentum going? Because if we can come together for this there’s so many things that we can come together to continue to do.

The opportunity to create the Foundation has always been part of our story. It wasn’t just because of the fire. But the fire really amplified that this is something we have to do and we were capable to do it.

A place is only something. You can burn this building down again, and Common Roots is still going to be here. Common Roots is a bigger thing. It’s a group of people who have all come together. It’s a community of people that have come together with this similar ethos and this idea of sharing beer, breaking bread and seeing what we can do for each other.

But to be able to stay in touch and have a heart, to remember, to be open, to give and share… These are all part of who we were before this, and now because we have the means, we have the community support behind us, we have the Foundation, it’s like the better it gets the better it gets.

We’ve been really fortunate to get to support different charities and organizations and individuals throughout our tenure as a company. From the ownership side, it is really rewarding to be a part of. And it’s also an educational experience for our staff and our community too, to see just how many organizations are in need out there.

The Foundation is our way of paying this back and paying it forward to a community that’s just been amazing to us. We use the word a lot but we’ve been humbled through this whole process and we’ve created this Foundation and we hope you’ll
think about joining us because it’s a way we can all join together and do a greater good here in the community.

Bert Fishing

Fall 2022

By FoundersMessages

As we get ready to welcome the autumn season with all its magic, it’s also a good time to reflect on what a good summer we’ve had. The summer weather, while exceptionally hot at times was, for the most part, a good summer. The hot days and comfortable nights were what we all love about Upstate New York.

As of this writing it has also been a dry summer and while that was good for our outdoor plans, it did make it harder for our friends in the farming community. The lack of adequate rainfall had a negative effect on crop yield and timing. Our drought conditions here were even worse in other parts of the world. By the time you are reading this, Robin and I should be on vacation in Europe and hopefully enjoying our long-awaited Rhine River Cruise… that is if the Rhine has enough water! This and other stories like it can bring the impacts of climate change down to a much more personal level to all of us.

In response to this crisis, Common Roots brews a special IPA each year for an Earth Day release called “Mom’s Calling”. It’s a delicious beer with a label indicative of the message and the dire conditions our planet now faces. A percentage of the proceeds of the sale of this beer is donated to our Foundation for the purpose of supporting local environmental initiatives.

While saving the planet sounds like a very lofty and insurmountable challenge, it is not one that we can continue to ignore. Even small changes and steps taken to reduce our impact on the planet can have a positive result. We are proud that Common Roots Brewing Company continues to take steps to become a more sustainable company and reduce our carbon footprint. Likewise, the Common Roots Foundation has had a positive impact by providing funds for local initiatives that support environmental stewardship and sustainably.

On a final note, the one thing that each of us can do this fall is to vote in support of candidates that have a pro-environmental platform. Saving the planet is not controversial and should never be politicized. Mom’s calling and we need to answer that call.

Cheers to a better tomorrow!
Bert

Concert in Crandall Park

Summer 2022

By FoundersMessages

This past July 3rd Robin and I decided we would attend the Glens Falls Symphony’s free concert in Crandall Park. The tradition has come back after taking a hiatus for a few years because of COVID. It was a wonderful slice of America and another reason why we love this community. The Glens Falls orchestra is a group of professional musicians totally supported by sponsors and organizations; therefore, making Glens Falls the smallest city to have its own symphony! If you haven’t attended one of their concerts, you should make plans to do so soon.

I love all kinds of music but listening to a large orchestra is especially enjoyable to me. Not being a musician myself, I am in awe of their individual talents and commitment to the art that creates this magical sound for the listeners’ enjoyment. Their selections for the evening, were a predictable mix of patriotic songs, show tunes and some pop music. The evening started out with the playing of National Anthem which I found to be especially moving on this evening. Most of the crowd stood and joined in singing the words. I did notice a group of young women who sat in silence and bowed their heads. Afterward I saw their matching shirts and the message: “Women’s Rights are Human Rights.” As a husband, father and now grandfather to amazing women and girls, I understood why they choose not to stand. While we may not agree with this for one reason or another, the fact that that they and others, came together as a community, was still something to celebrate. It was peaceful and respectful gathering of individuals of many backgrounds and beliefs.

The Foundation is also celebrating a very eventful season. With your help, we just awarded over $15,000 in grants to organizations that are making a positive change in our community. The gathering in Crandall Park was, in the end, a celebration of community and each person there had a personal reason to participate in their own way.

Just as the symphony depends on everyone doing their part to create that magical sound, the Foundation and the work we hope to do needs each of us to do our part and work together. Our strength and effectiveness are dependent on all staying involved in respectful discourse and actions. We know the most effective changes occurs at the grassroots level and the ability to work together for a common good. Thank you for your continued support of our efforts to create a community that celebrates an active lifestyle, promotes social and environmental justice and helps lift those who are in crisis.

Thank you,
Bert

Silos at night

Spring 2022

By FoundersMessages
Spring in our region can be full of disappointment. It seems just when you think you’re done with winter, it comes back, leaving you seriously questioning why we live here! The recent snowfall after a chilly Easter weekend was one of those events. While our spring season is certainly unpredictable, it is part of living in the North Country.

On a more serious note, when we see what’s going on now in the Ukraine, complaining about the weather pales in comparison to the suffering and the atrocities being committed there. This war, like other events that we have no control over, can be disheartening and leave us with a sense of feeling overwhelmed. If you are anything like me, you want to do something. To keep my sanity and fulfill a need to act, I’ve developed a personal routine of doing something… even if it’s just a small gesture. Contributing to a worthy relief organization or writing e-mails to an elected official asking them to act is cathartic and can make a difference. For me, these gestures take away some of that hopeless feeling and helps me feel a little more empowered. Research also shows that even small acts can have positive impacts and inspire more involvement.
I’m sure most of you have heard the parable about a young boy walking along a beach after a storm, picking up washed-up starfish, and tossing them back into the sea one by one. An older man stopped him and asked why he was bothering – there were thousands stranded… what possible difference could it make? The young boy answered, “Well… it will make a difference to this one,” and he tossed it back into the sea.
The Common Roots Foundation has that kind of philosophy. We know the big issues can be overwhelming, but we also know that even small acts can have a ripple effect and bring needed changes. We’ve been inspired by our community and how they stood by us during difficult times. It made a difference to our company, our staff, and our families. It is hard to describe the feeling we had when we witnessed how much our community cared. Each act of kindness made a difference and inspired us to do more and create this not-for-profit arm of Common Roots Brewing Company.

On behalf of the Common Roots Foundation, thank you for your support in the past and for renewing your membership in 2022. If you haven’t done so yet, please consider joining the Common Roots Foundation and helping us to continue to make a difference in our community… one member at a time.

Cheers!

Double Fortune Beer in front of fire pit

Winter 2022

By FoundersMessages

The one thing we’ve learned in business and in training for different activities is you have to be consistent. Whether we’re making beer or trying to improve our time in a race or a score in disc golf, the key to success is developing good practices and routines. As with any athletic endeavors or successful organization, developing good habits early and sticking to them is critical.

It is also important to remember that even the best practices and plans may need to be revisited and reaffirmed to keep the desired outcome. The onset and re-emergence of COVID is an all too relevant example of an outside force that has required all of us to make adjustments to routines and habits we hold dear. As a business, Common Roots Brewery has had to adjust to an ever-changing business paradigm that the pandemic created and yet we couldn’t compromise the quality of the products or services we delivered.

The Foundation, even as a relatively new organization, was established on some very focused set of principles. Our mission to be a resource for positive change in our community is dependent on the consistent involvement with and by our community members. We started this organization with just ten people and have now grown to one with over 100 members. We’ve helped individuals, businesses and organization to the tune of over ten thousand dollars in grants in our first year. None of this would have been possible without the consistent focus of our Board and the generous support of our members and community.

As you look ahead to the promise and challenges of 2022, we hope you will consider either joining the Common Roots Foundation or renewing your membership at any level. Membership in the Foundation can be an easy habit to start and maintain…and one which we know will yield some very positive outcomes in our community.

Cheers!

The Weber Family

Holiday 2021

By FoundersMessages

Gratitude is a great word and one we feel deeply. In every sense, we are filled with gratitude for the amazing support we’ve seen both for our Company and our Foundation. This past year has been an especially incredible gift and we feel honored that so many of you have chosen to be part of this journey with us. Common Roots Brewing Company has had a banner year and your continued support for this idea of creating a community around beer has been nothing short of amazing!

Incredibly, you can now find CRBC products in ten states and even Canada! Due to this demand, we have implemented plans to expand our production in the coming year. Our local manufacturing partner, Fronhofer Design, will be building new tanks for us for a 2022 installation. Look for more news on our plans for expansion in the coming months and come help us celebrate our 7th Year Anniversary on December 19th.

The Common Roots Foundation just completed its first year of existence and your support has been phenomenal. As we look ahead to the winter months, it’s a good time to remember that for many in our community, these are difficult times. The Foundation was created as another vehicle for positive change in our region. If we learned anything from this past year, it is that so much more is possible if we work together. We invite you to please continue your support and help us in our mission to elevate our community and make it a better place for everyone. A gift of a CRF Membership for someone on your list is great way to pay it forward in the coming year.

Cheers to a season filled with hope and good health for all our community!

With Gratitude,
The Weber Family

Rainbow over Glens Falls

Fall 2021

By FoundersMessages
As many of you may know, I tore my Achilles tendon and recently had surgery to repair it. I’d really like to make-up a better story of how this happened, but in full disclosure, I did this playing a relatively calm game called pickleball. As disruptive and disheartening as this injury has been to me, thankfully it’s only a temporary set back.
In many ways (and I can’t believe I’m saying this) my injury has been a gift to me. My wife Robin, the annoying, eternal optimist love of my life, had been telling me this from day one. Begrudgingly, I now have to agree that she’s right yet again. This injury has given me the unusual opportunity to sit still, be reflective and be more of an observer of the world around me. This is not something that most of us think about and yet it can be a refreshingly interesting eye opener.
The world we live our daily lives in can become a rather routine and mundane place. We tend to pass people and places that have become merely recognizable objects, void of meaning except maybe as a reference point during our travels. Interestingly enough, when you have a dramatic change in your life, even if temporary, you may start to see those same people and places differently. For instance, I now see that abandoned building on South Street and I think of the endless possibilities it has. The old man who’s always on the bench at Stewarts… could he benefit from knowing more about services available to him in our town? The dangerous sidewalk on Garfield that the home owners can’t afford to repair…maybe we could get some volunteers and donations to fix that?

The word I like to use is “inspired”. The gift I previously referred to is a heightened ability to be inspired by the things you see in your daily life. The good news is you don’t have to be injured to be inspired. Take some time to look at your world from a different perspective and see what opportunities there are to create a better place for all of us. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

As a reminder, there are two ways that we here at the Foundation go about creating a better place for our community. One way is best described as reactive, meaning we’ll help when we are asked. The other way is proactive, where we seek out projects and causes without being asked – ones that we feel will benefit the community we’ve pledged to serve.

Our Foundation is now six months old. In that relatively short time, I believe we’ve accomplished much together. I’d like to take this opportunity to personally thank Alex Kochon, our first director who helped us get our start…and now Sean Rafferty who has taken over without missing a beat. Through it all, our Board has worked selflessly to help us bring our vision of making the not-for-profit arm of the Common Roots Brewing Company a reality.

Cheers to making our community a better place for all of us!
Bert, Christian, and Robin Weber

Two Years Ago Today…

By FoundersMessages

We can’t thank you all enough for being a part of this journey with us…

Two years ago today, our world was turned upside down when our original Taproom and Brewery at 58 Saratoga Avenue was destroyed by a fire. While we cannot suppress the devastation and uncertainty that arose that day, we will never be able to quantify the outpouring of love and support. That’s what keeps us going and continues to motivate us to do what we love – using our beer as a conduit for building community. To all of you who have been a part of this passion project thus far and to the new community members we welcome everyday, we are who we are because of you.  Just wait, the best is yet to come. From our family to yours, thank you for your continued support, compassion and inspiration.

~ The Weber Family