CHESTER — O.P. Frederick’s Restaurant is planning to establish a microbrewery called Hudson Hollow Hops, with the help of a $90,000 state grant.
The restaurant, which is located at the corner of Route 8 and Route 9, was awarded a grant from the governor’s Regional Economic Development Council to expand the restaurant to include a microbrewery and start production of hops.
Co-owner Bruce Hodgson said he is excited about this opportunity. Hodgson and co-owner George Stannard bought the business in 2015 with the hope of establishing a microbrewery.
“I’ve personally been making beer for probably 25 to 30 years now, so it’s always been in the back of my mind. But it’s been a little out of reach. This will hopefully enable that to happen,” Hodgson said.
The money will help purchase equipment to establish the microbrewery and to make a small addition and renovations to the restaurant to include a tasting room, according to Hodgson.
“The building here is 50 years old, so it needs a little extra work,” he said.
The additional 800-square-foot space will allow for expansion of the restaurant’s cooler space, according to Hodgson. Another goal is to get the bathrooms to be handicapped accessible.
Hodgson said he plans to start small with a three-barrel microbrewery. He said the brewery got its name because lots of places around the area are called hollows and they are close to the Hudson River.
“We’re hoping to break ground in the spring and hopefully get our addition in pretty quick,” he said.
He does not have any designs or sketches at this point.
“We’ve been in contact with the engineering firm. We didn’t want to pull the trigger on that until we knew we had the funds to do it,” he said.
The long-term plan is to establish an off-site hops farm. Hodgson said he can source out the local hops before the restaurant can establish its own hops farm.
“We’re not reliant on that to make the beer. It would be a nice added touch,” he said.
He said it will take about three years before the hops are really productive.
The restaurant currently employs about 15 people, but Hodgson said he plans to add more workers with this microbrewery expansion.
“We’re hoping, in the short term, probably five to 10 people, and if it takes off you could end up with a lot more, but we’ll see,” he said.
Hodgson thanked EDC Warren County President Edward Bartholomew for helping the business through the grant process. The restaurant had reached out a couple of years ago seeking funding for this endeavor.