Fermentation tanks travel down the Erie Canal toward their new home with Genesee Brewing Company in Rochester
The Genesee Brewing Company's new fermentation tanks will have gone the distance by the time they're put in place at the Rochester brewery: With no mule named Sal in sight, they'll have logged some 225 miles on the Erie Canal.
The first barges carrying three tanks launched from Waterford in Saratoga County, May 19 — a week behind schedule due to high waters. That first set of tanks made it to Lock E27 in Lyons on Sunday night, remaining there for the night as some 1,000 people visited it, and made it to 150 Lee Road in Gates on Tuesday afternoon to be offloaded and transported to the brewery.
A second barge with three more tanks left Lock E30 in Macedon on Tuesday afternoon, to pass through Fairport and remain at Pittsford (Lock E32) for the evening, with plans to head toward Lee Road on Wednesday morning.
The tanks are part of a major modernization project at the Genesee brewery. The 20-by-60-foot tall tanks will be used for fermentation in the brewing process.
In February, North American Breweries formally broke ground on a $41 million project to turn its iconic Rochester brewery into a versatile new “eco-brewery,” more environmentally friendly and able to brew smaller batches of beer in the much wider varieties and styles demanded by contemporary beer drinkers. Within the next two years, the company also planned to expand its Genesee Brew House restaurant overlooking High Falls.
It's also a big year for the Erie Canal, which this year is marking the 200th anniversary of the beginning of its construction