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Alums Look to Start Brewing

Posted on Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Victor Pultinas '08 and Jenna LaVita '08 were recently featured in an article in the Finger Lakes Times for their plans to open what "may be the first commercial brewer of an alcoholic beverage in the city of Geneva since before Prohibition," according to the article.

It notes, "Pultinas is working hard to get his proper licenses and finish the interior and exterior of 16 Castle St., the location of Lake Drum Brewing."

"He's also working hard to finish up a fundraising campaign to raise $10,000 to help get the business off the ground."

Pultinas earned a B.A. in arts and education from Hobart College. He minored in studio art and Latin American studies. As a student he participated in Jumpstart and earned the Druid Award for Loyalty. He studied abroad in Ecuador/Peru. LaVita earned a B.A. in political science cum laude, with a minor in peace studies. As a student she was a member of the Herons soccer team and studied abroad in Copenhagen.

"In the past few years, Geneva has seen the arrival of small businesses opening up and local people coming together to support the community,'' Pultinas is quoted in the article. "My vision is a small-scale production facility, a short distance from the shore of Seneca Lake. It will hopefully have a positive impact on the community."

The full article follows.

Finger Lakes Times
Campaign push on tap for new Geneva brewery

David Shaw • December 2, 2013

GENEVA - Victor Pultinas isn't certain, but he believes that the Lake Drum Brewing Co. he plans to open early next year may be the first commercial brewer of an alcoholic beverage in the city of Geneva since before Prohibition.

Pultinas is working hard to get his proper licenses and finish the interior and exterior of 16 Castle St., the location of Lake Drum Brewing.

He's also working hard to finish up a fundraising campaign to raise $10,000 to help get the business off the ground.

He's raised just over $8,000 so far and hopes to get the remaining $1,700 by Dec. 7.

"I'm working with the State Liquor Authority to obtain a liquor license on the state level,'' Pultinas said. "And since I'm going to be involved in actual alcoholic beverage production under the farm brewery license, I have to get that from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms."

He said he's nearly done with the state license requirements and hopes to have his federal approval in time to meet his informal goal of opening in late January.
Meanwhile, building owner John Brennan is overseeing a new facade and interior work, including new windows. The building will continue to house apartments on the second and third floors.

Pultinas and partner Jenna LaVita plan to manufacture their own beers and cider on site for consumption at the Castle Street business or for purchases to go.
"It will be aged in red wine barrels, with each beer unfiltered, unrefined and brewed right here from scratch,'' Pultinas said.

He said they will also make their own cider for sale on site or to go. Cider made by other manufacturers will be available to go.

"In the past few years, Geneva has seen the arrival of small businesses opening up and local people coming together to support the community,'' Pultinas said. "My vision is a small-scale production facility, a short distance from the shore of Seneca Lake. It will hopefully have a positive impact on the community."

Each contribution to the fundraising campaign qualifies the donor for future "perks,'' depending on the level of donation.

"I feel Lake Drum will be a community anchor to encourage visitors," Pultinas said. "Supporting us makes donors a part of something bigger than their personal goals and ambitions, but supporting the community and investing in its future."

Pultinas and LaVita were aided in their dream by winning the city Local Development Corporation's "Race for Space'' contest earlier this year. The LDC offered an incentive package to a new business interested in leasing space downtown.

The package consists of:
• Free rent for a year with a three-year lease.
• Free advertising in the Finger Lakes Times.
• Architectural services by Sky High Architecture for store fit-in and signage materials.
• Assistance with signage by InSite Architecture.
• Free business guidance and advice.
• Free marketing assistance from the Hobart and William Smith Colleges' Communications Department.
• A year's free membership in the Chamber of Commerce.

Brennan, the city Code Enforcement Officer, offered to lease the vacant first floor of 20 Castle St. for the brewing operation.

"It's an expensive endeavor to get started. We've invested a lot, but I'm asking future customers to visit our website to help us out,'' Pultinas said.

Pultinas came to Geneva eight years ago to attend Hobart College. After earning a degree in arts and education, he met LaVita, a William Smith College graduate. They decided to stay in Geneva.

Pultinas worked at a preschool program, was a substitute teacher, taught English to migrant workers, painted a mural on the side of Super Casuals downtown, house sat for more than two years for more than 30 households, ran a maple syrup making operation, was an assistant winemaker for three different wineries and now works part-time at Lochland School.

LaVita is the winemaker and vineyard manager for Ventosa Vineyards in Fayette.
"Since we began, things have moved ahead well. There have been no holdups. John Brennan and the city have been great. I had to get a variance to operate a brewery,'' Pultinas said.

Brew up a contribution
To contribute to the start-up fundraising campaign, go online to lakedrumbrewing.com or write to Victor Pultinas, 220 High St., Geneva, 14456.

 

 

 


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