Nick and Andrew first became friends in middle school, but after 4 years of friendship, life sent them in different directions.
Andrew graduated from college in 2011 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and a couple batches of home brew under his belt. Afterwards, he worked as an engineer by day, but spent most nights playing with recipes, designing brewing systems, or brewing beer.
Meanwhile, Nick traveled the world as a photojournalist covering political, social and environmental issues. He too became enthralled by brewing, going so far as to brew in single gallon batches because that was all the space he had in his New York City apartment.
On Christmas Eve 2013, Andrew and Nick ran into one another doing some last-minute shopping. After catching up, their discussion quickly turned to home-brewing, and they promised to meet again soon. A few months later they met at a Brooklyn bar, and over a glass of Andrew’s home-brewed Golden Tripel, Shire Breu-Hous was born. They haven’t stopped working on it since.
When space in the old Crane Stationery Factory became available, they knew it would be the perfect home for Shire. Construction began in the fall of 2016. They worked diligently to preserve as much of the original character of the building as possible. When part of the original hardwood floor had to be removed to install brewing equipment, they reused the wood to make a long bench seat and a majority of the table tops. The tap system and coffee table are made from parts of the old factory vacuum pump; the lounge chandelier is made from old compressed air oil filters, and the host stand is a 150-year-old type-setting table.
Andrew and Nick used materials local to the Berkshires whenever possible. They sourced marble for the lounge window sills and hearth stone from quarries in Lee (the same quarries that provided marble for the Lincoln Memorial and the headstones at Arlington National Cemetery). When an old sugar maple tree on Andrew’s grandparent’s land died, Nick and Andrew decided to give it a second life; this tree (the first tree ever tapped by Andrew’s father and uncle when they started the family tradition of making maple syrup) is now the bar top, the soon to come banquet tables, as well as a few tap handles. We even smoke our meat in house with extra scraps of wood from that very same tree.
After many months of construction and a lot of help from family and friends, Shire finally opened in August 2017!
Here in the Berkshires, we’re lucky to have access to many local ingredients, and we strive to source locally whenever possible; malt from South Egremont, liquor from a few local distilleries, meats, cheeses and produce are also purchased from many different nearby farms, and we even grow our own hops.