Summerhill Brewing: With strong local support, Cayuga County brewery expands

Summerhill Brewing needed to expand before much of Cayuga County even knew it existed.

The brewery opened humbly in September 2016 in the southeastern corner of the county. It started with a 20-gallon system, or roughly half a barrel, and its Champlin Road tasting room has only been open one weekend a month. But by the following March, owners Megan and Kurt McDonald and Sallee and Jeff Ten Eyck were overwhelmed by demand. Beers like Paper Money IPA and Iron Plow Porter had earned Summerhill such a thirsty following that expanding became necessary. And the brewery earned that following almost entirely through word-of-mouth within its community.

This spring, Summerhill Brewing will open a new facility on Route 90, a quarter-mile away from the old brewery. The new 3,000-square-foot building will include a seven-barrel system, which will be able to produce 10 times as much beer. Its spacious tasting room and outdoor seating area will similarly multiply the number of people Summerhill can serve. Speaking Thursday at the freshly sanded bar of their new facility, Summerhill's owners said the expansion will allow them to become a regular stop for their old customers in the community and a destination for new ones outside of it.

"We've gotten a lot of community support, and we intend to support our community," Megan said.

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