BALLSTON SPA — The Speckled Pig Brewing Company opened its doors just under six months ago, and business has been strong for the local brewers.
Located at 11 Washington Street in the Village of Ballston Spa, Speckled Pig offers a variety of beers, seltzers, and pizzas, all of which are produced in-house.
Larry Heid, a partner at Speckled Pig, said the first six months have gone “better than we had expected,” noting the strong response from local community members.
“The Village of Ballston Spa, the residents here have been so warm,” said Heid. “They were super receptive to having a brewery. It’s become kind of like a home base for the village. We’re very happy with how it’s progressing.”
That progression has gone quickly, as Speckled Pig has already ventured into the distribution market, partnering with Saratoga Eagle to offer kegs of their beers at local bars.
“To be six months in and doing that is insane,” said R.J. Elliott, a partner at Speckled Pig. “So it’s been hectic, brewing as fast as humanly possible to keep up.”
The brewery is registered as a New York Farm Brewery, meaning that 60% of grains and hops used in the making of their beers must be sourced from within New York State. All of their beers and pizza are made on-site, with Elliott saying, “Local is kind of the name of our game.”
“Everything we do, we tie back to the people around here, supporting local businesses,” Elliott said, noting the Speckled Pig has a partnership with Coffee Planet, and has hosted a variety of fundraisers for booster clubs from Ballston Spa High School.
Elliott, a graduate of Ballston Spa High School, said it is meaningful to be able to establish a business in the village.
“It’s all anyone talks to me about now, ‘How’s the Pig?’,” Elliott said. “It’s the first thing that’s on everyone’s mind.”
Heid said the brewery is seeing “a lot of repeat customers.”
“On any given day, I will know, like, at least half the people that are here from just coming back,” said Heid.
The local support can be easily observed inside the brewery, as a wall across from the bar is covered with the names of members of the Speckled Pig’s ‘Founders Club.’ The Founders Club hosts private events and offers tastings of new beers, among other perks. Elliott said over 300 people signed up for the club within the brewery’s first two weeks of opening.
“And we capped it at that,” said Elliott. “We had a lot of people still asking us to join, but we stopped it because we want to be able to, on the Wednesdays that we do open for Founders, have them all get a seat when they come in.”
It has been a drastic turnaround for the property, which sat vacant for many years before Elliott’s family purchased it. However, they initially did not have any plans for a brewery.
“We just wanted to clean it up for the village,” Elliott said. “That was the only goal. For years, it had sat here. You’re talking 15 to 20 years without anything in it.”
Then Larry and Mary-Jo Heid came into the picture. Looking for a brewery in the area, they connected with Kelly Delaney-Elliott, R.J.’s mother and a real estate broker.
“We had no brewery intention in mind until we met the Heids,” said Elliott. “A year later, we were open. So it happened fast. It still feels like it was yesterday.”
The brewery came flying out of the gate, offering 11 beers and a seltzer on their first day of business, which Elliott said was “crazy.”
“Nobody told us we weren’t supposed to do that, we just kind of went for it,” said Heid.
“To do that right off the bat meant literally as fast as you could possibly turn the tank, we’re brewing the next cycle,” added Elliott. “For the first couple weeks, you’d look at the menu and you’d see a line through like three of them, because we just kicked the seven kegs we had, and we had three more days until we got the tank. Now, it’s a pretty huge achievement that we’ve got all our beers on tap and we’re ahead of it.”
The brewery also has big plans as the weather gets warmer, with Elliott saying the Speckled Pig is looking to open a rooftop deck in the summer. Currently, the brewery operates solely on the top floor of the building (roughly 4,500 square feet).
Looking further into the future, Speckled Pig also plans to deepen their roots in distribution. Heid said the company hopes to start selling cans of their beer “within a year.”
Ultimately, Elliott said being able to share the brewery with the people of Ballston Spa is “one of the coolest feelings.”
“I just get a ton of pride being able to do it in Ballston Spa,” said Elliott. “It’s my hometown, and it’s nice to be able to create a business that can manufacture right here.”