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Stainless steel brewing tanks with dark moody lighting

Winter 2024

By FoundersMessages

This past December I was returning home from a local holiday concert when I heard the news that our neighbor and friend had passed away. He had just celebrated his 90th birthday the previous week and we made plans to get coffee together at our new Café at Common Roots. Kendall was a good man who had a long and fascinating life. He loved to hear about the brewery and wanted very much to see the new space we had created there. Sadly, I missed that opportunity to grab that coffee with him and hear more of his stories.

In the weeks since his passing, I’ve looked out at his house across the street from us and still feel a bit of sadness. It was somehow always comforting to know Kendall was there. The house itself is a solid structure but looks a bit tired and Kendall, while he was very comfortable there, didn’t feel the need to update things. He loved having visitors, especially if you brought your dog. As I look out at that home across the street, I wonder who will live there next. Will it be a young family? How will they change the house? Whoever the future owners are, I know I will always think of Kendall being there. I hope it’s a family with a dog…Kendall would like that.

This past autumn, CRBC began the lengthy process of acquiring the C.H. Evans Brewing Company at the Albany Pump Station. As most people know, Neil Evans, the owner, had become ill and he and his family made the difficult decision to sell the business to another family brewery, Common Roots. In the weeks since the sale was announced, we have been working extremely hard to breathe some new life into the old structure. We loved this old building and what the Evans’ family did to convert it into a brewery and restaurant, but it was ready for some serious updates.

As we’ve gone through this process, we’ve tried to be sensitive to the incredible history of the previous owner while bringing our unique brand and company ethos to this historic structure. As we’ve been doing this renovation, I can’t help but wonder what our new neighbors in Albany are thinking. Since Neil’s passing in June and the shutting down of operations last Fall, I can imagine a lot of people are wondering what will happen to the old Pump Station. What will the new owners be like, and what will they do in the future?

As we all soon gather in this new space, I can imagine that Neil would be happy knowing the building he initially transformed will once again be a place to gather and celebrate. As old friends and neighbors leave us, it’s nice to honor their memory by re-imagining and transforming their space into something new and welcoming again.

In the next few weeks, we are very hopeful that the renovations will be completed, and we can open the doors and welcome everyone back into this beautiful space. The new business is now called Common Roots Brewing Company – Albany Outpost. We are extremely pleased with how it has been transformed and cannot wait to share it with everyone!

While we still have some work to do, it cannot be overstated how excited we are to be in downtown Albany. All of us here at the Common Roots family are looking forward to becoming part of the new revitalized downtown scene. Cheers to old friends and the opportunity and privilege to make new ones here in 2024.

On behalf of all of us in the Common Roots Family, we wish everyone a healthy, prosperous, and more peaceful New Year!

Bert

Group of people watching a ribbon cutting

Holiday 2023

By FoundersMessages

A few weeks ago, we hosted a ribbon cutting event at our newest facility here in South Glens Falls, the Common Roots Bierhall & Barrel House. We had the honor to host several local dignitaries with a special appearance by the Lt. Governor of New York, Antonio Delgado. This was his second time visiting us at Common Roots and we were thrilled he was able to stop in with greetings and congratulations on our newest venture.

While it was heartwarming to listen to each speakers’ remarks, especially Christian as he spoke with such fondness of his grandparents and our incredible staff (proud Dad here!), it was the Lt. Governor’s remarks that struck a profound chord with me. After listening to Christian’s talk that morning, the Lt. Governor said that it occurred to him that “humanity is that common root that binds us all together.”

He went on to comment that CRBC and our Foundation were unusual examples of how a business could keep humanity in the equation of their decision-making process.

After hearing his comments, I admittedly had a lump in my throat. Our name “Common Roots” is very much based on this principle and yet we’ve never heard someone make that connection so eloquently in public. Humanity is one of those words that has even more meaning during the holiday season. The word itself may have different meaning to some but in this context, I would define it as the ability to be caring and wanting the best for others. Some may define humanity as simply being human… but that is too sterile a definition for me. As we’ve seen all too frequently, our inhumanity to one another is already well documented and sadly demands too many of the headlines in our daily news.

“Humanity is that common root that binds us all together.”

~ Antonio Delgado

On a brighter note, it is refreshing to welcome this time of year! Many of us tend to open our hearts and wallets more during the Holidays. Perhaps it is a natural reaction to the season’s message of peace or the change in the weather that triggers this response in us. Whatever the reason or cause, having more empathy and understanding of the plight of people less fortunate or in need is a good human trait worth highlighting. I think we can all agree, we could all use some more humanity in the world right now.

As we enter this season of longer nights and colder temperatures, we hope you’ll join us in shining more of a light on the humanity we see everyday in our community. With your support, our foundation and our company will continue to collaborate with other local organization to help bring a little more comfort, healing, and warmth to our part of the world.

Peace,
The Weber Family

Cute little kids eating ice cream

Fall 2023

By FoundersMessages

The word acceptance has a nice sound to it. Accepted by friends when you were a child, accepted into college as a young adult or accepting a new job…are all positive experiences for us. Typically, with the act of acceptance comes the idea of change and that can be difficult for some of us.

Aging, and I can speak to this now with some experience, is another difficult adjustment for some but not one that is unexpected. Living a longer life will have its challenges but it still beats the alternative! I consider myself an active, healthy senior and this provides the opportunity to still be involved and contribute to my community. I feel very fortunate in that respect.

The changing of the seasons is another natural occurrence that some of us accept with optimism and others with dread. As a child, I dreaded the end of summer because it meant a return to school with the nuns at St. Theresa’s whom, let’s just say, I had developed a difficult relationship with. As a teacher, I still dreaded the end of summer, but for different reasons. Summer was a time to be with family, travel and often do a different job. I loved my teaching career, but the summer was special for many reasons and its passing was not always easy to accept.

The summer of 2023 was different. The changes to the climate that the scientists have been warning about since the 70’s came to fruition both locally and abroad. Record breaking heat waves, storms, flooding, drought, and wildfires were daily headlines and sure signs of a planet in trouble. The Canadian wildfire smoke this past summer hit me especially hard because it gave me an eerie and foreboding glimpse into how the future will likely look. We were told to stay indoors and refrain from certain activities and exercise! Is this a change we should be willing to accept as just a natural occurrence or is it just price we pay for ignoring science? Both are correct.

The climate crisis the world experienced this summer is a natural occurrence because we’ve ignored the science. That is a fact. The challenge for many of us now is whether we want to accept this climate change as the new reality or make the changes that are necessary to bring the planet back into a natural, healthy cycle.

We Americans, who have the largest carbon footprint on the globe, also have a unique opportunity to lead the world back from a future we will not want to accept. That said, to lead we must accept the science and be willing to make the changes necessary. That starts by agreeing that the Climate Crisis is a major threat. A PEW research survey from last March indicates that Americans rank the climate crisis as only 17 th out of 21 major issues that the government should act on.

What can we do? This version of Lifting the View is our contribution to keep the Climate Crisis on the forefront of what we hope is a new national discourse on climate. We’ve seen a glimpse of what a climate in crisis looks like this past summer and that is a future we shouldn’t accept. We all have reasons for acting on a problem and I’ve included a photo of one of my “reasons.”

We can change the conversation and keep the focus on solving this crisis. I hope you’ll join us.

Four people raising glasses of beer

Summer 2023

By FoundersMessages

I’ve been to quite a few celebrations this spring. Some have been milestone birthdays and others have been celebrations of life…each looking back at a friend or family member’s life. These have been important remembrances and often emotional events for family and friends to share. I’ve left many of these occasions thinking about that person and concluding, “well, that was a life well lived.” What is a life well lived? What stories do we want others to remember about us when we’re gone are questions to consider. I suppose the answer could be dependent on each person’s hopes and expectations and the length of time we are given to tell that story. That said, life will teach us, the time will pass no matter what we do, and we should make the most of each day’s gift.

A person’s individual story is influenced by family and the reverse is also true. As you’ve likely heard, Common Roots Brewing Company has agreed to purchase the CH Evans and Sons Brewing Company at the Albany Pump Station. This opportunity came to us due to life circumstances that have become difficult for the Evans’ family. Neil Evans, the owner, and industry icon is struggling with a serious illness and had to make the hard decision to sell the business.

As part of this agreement, we will continue to brew some of the CH Evans’ famous beers into the future under the Common Roots brand and carry on the incredible story of one of New York’s most historic brands. It is an honor to do so, and we are hopeful this agreement has brought some peace of mind to the Evans Family and assurance that their story will continue to be written into the future. On a positive note, during this process we have become friends with the Evans family and have learned a great deal about the history that they are so rightfully proud of.

In retrospect, this has many of the elements of a good lesson for each of us to consider. What is the story we want people to know about us? Every day we have an opportunity to tell a new story through our family, our work, our actions, and the causes we support. The Common Roots Foundation, through the generosity of our members and supporters, has now awarded over $75K in grants and awards to support local organizations in the important work they are doing. All of us at Common Roots Brewing and the Common Roots Foundation, are extremely proud of this work and are grateful for this opportunity to continue tell our story in this community and beyond.

As you ponder what your individual story will be, we hope you will consider making the Common Roots Foundation part of that narrative. Together we’ve already had a positive impact on the lives of many people in our community. Lifting people into better circumstances is a good story and the more people that join us, the better it gets.

Tin coffee mug in front of a lake that reads, "What good shall I do this day."

Spring 2023

By FoundersMessages

“Expect good things to happen” has become a popular mantra here with the Weber Clan and one which allows us to keep a positive outlook on many of the uncertainties that life can present. Over the last few years, our Brewery and Foundation have certainly faced some challenges and somehow through it all, we expected something good to come from it. That said, we understood this expectation was not based on the idea that there won’t be work or to suggest a reliance on blind faith that everything will turn out. On the contrary, this phrase is really intended to be more of a rallying statement. Something that still requires a thoughtful process to consider the facts, formulate a plan and envision a positive outcome.

I will also note that coinciding with this mantra is a belief that having a strong visual in one’s mind of what that success will look like is critical to this process. Not having a strong vision for what you want is like starting a trip without an idea where you are going. Taken a step further… if you don’t know where you’re going…how will you know when you arrive? This expectation of good must have a strong idea of what that “good” will look like and what steps must be taken to get there.

At both the Foundation and Common Roots Brewery Company, we have a strong vision of where we want to be as an organization and a business…both now and in the future. Some of the real work comes in recruiting the right people and having them join us in creating that vision for a better outcome. Fortunately for us, we have recruited incredible staff and board members that not only understand the vision, but they also help us achieve it every day.

As we embrace the spring season with a renewed hope and excitement for the coming warmer months, all of us at Common Roots would like to recruit more people to share in the vision of a more sustainable future. Climate change continues to be the over-riding challenge of our generation. Solving it will require an unprecedented level of global cooperation and can certainly be overwhelming to think about, especially when the solutions seem so distant and beyond our control.

That said, wouldn’t it be nice to all start imagining a world that is less dependent on fossil fuels and more sustainable right here in our community!? The strides that have been made in renewable energy, electric vehicles and recycling have been impressive but won’t be enough to reverse global warming. One of the more frustrating hurdles in addressing the climate crisis is that far too many policy makers don’t believe the science or believe it is too late to do anything. We shouldn’t accept that vision for our children and the planet we leave them.

Here’s five things we can all do right now to help reverse climate change and be part of the solution:

  1. Contact your elected officials and demand they support climate initiatives. Support only those that have a proven record on this issue.
  2. Reduce the amount of energy you consume in your home, business, and in travel.
  3. Recycle and reduce the amount of waste and plastic in our homes, businesses, and communities.
  4. Support organizations that are actively solving environmental justice issues on a local, national, and global scale.
  5. Speak up and join organizations that are doing this work and volunteer whenever you can.

Expecting good things to happen for our planet is a mantra that we can all support and join in as a shared vision for the next generation. Let’s all do our share and start that vision today.

Rows of various beer cans

Winter 2023

By FoundersMessages

Having choices are generally considered good things in life, but is there such a thing as too many choices? Most people would say no… but having so many choices can sometimes create a dilemma or even confusion for the consumer as to what brand to purchase.

As the chief cook in our family, I enjoy the art of cooking and weirdly, even like to go to the market and select the items I want to prepare. That said, my time in the supermarket is not all joyful and I am amazed at the number of choices we have as consumers on any given product. How do I choose what brand to buy? Like most things I purchase, there can be a difference in quality, price, locally produced or big brand. That said, and for the obvious reason, I usually don’t have to purchase my beer at the grocery store. I do, however, make a point to visit that area of the market and check to see the Common Roots display and what the competition is doing.

Cans of beer in a cooler

I am always amazed at the number of choices that are now available in the craft beer display! As I stand there…I put myself in the customers shoes and try to imagine…now why would I choose CRBC over some other brands? Certainly taste, style, ABV, label design, and price all likely enter the decision-making process so…what else should matter?

If you are a regular customer of CR, you likely know we made a very deliberate decision early in our business model to use local suppliers and products in all aspects of our business. We’ve also made a substantial investment to reduce our waste stream and carbon footprint as a company and support a variety of sustainable initiatives with other local organizations. To further our mission to strengthen our community, we launched the Common Roots Foundation in 2021 and, with your support, have donated over $50,000 in support of this initiative. While none of these decisions necessarily improved our bottom line, we felt strongly that this was ultimately a more impactful way to do business.

All that said…how would a new or undecided customer know that and would they even care? Does it matter if the company or brand they support is a good community member that supports environmental sustainability and social justice issues? The answer we think is a “hopeful yes.” The question then becomes: “How do we get that message out and not sound like a marketing ploy?”

The answer, we believe, is to just keep doing what we are doing. We didn’t start this idea of building a community around beer because we wanted to monetize it. We saw the value of bringing people together over a beer for the common good and this honestly aligned more with what we value as a family and a business. Even in our little original taproom we saw the importance of gatherings to help one another, and we wanted to grow both the business and our community under that ethos.

Understandably, a critical part of any successful business is their approach to customer engagement. We know that in a competitive market with lots of choices, giving the customer another reason to support our brand will help us grow the business and the foundation. We believe that feeling good about supporting CR, the Brewery and CR, the Foundation is an important part of that engagement.

Sign that says "Brewed with passion, rooted in community."

In that light, we are introducing a new slogan that we will attach to our brand: “Brewed with Passion, Rooted in Community”. Our team felt that this best embodied what we want our customers to know. We love what we do, and we care about our community.

As we move into 2023, we trust this new slogan will also serve as a reminder to keep doing what we love and perhaps, give the consumer another reason to support this idea we call Common Roots.

Cheers!

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!

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!