HYDE PARK – The craft beer scene has exploded in the Hudson Valley in recent years, with breweries popping up across the region.
At the start of this movement was the Hyde Park Brewing Company.
A family business, the brewery established itself as a restaurant staple in the 1990s, helping to usher in the craft beer craze before it was fashionable. After more than 26 years, however, the brewery is about to pour its last pint.
Saturday will be the last day of the brewery, as the owners close their doors in a difficult economic environment.
“It’s devastating,” said Angela LoBianco-Barone, co-owner of the brewery. “It’s hard to see him go.”
The brewery opened in 1996 on Route 9, across from the historic Franklin D. Roosevelt home.
“It’s been a local institution in Hyde Park and Dutchess County since the mid-1990s,” said Rich Kleban, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce. “This industry has really exploded in recent years, especially here. Hyde Park Brewing really started it all.”
The Hyde Park Brewing Company was started by Tony LoBianco and his children, Angela and Joey, who have been involved with restaurants and breweries throughout the region, including Rip Van Winkle Brewing Company in Catskill, which Joey runs.
Joey LoBianco ran the Hyde Park operation at the start before Angela and her husband, Richard, took over years ago.
“It’s a labor of love,” LoBianco-Barone said.
Joey LoBianco said in a Facebook post, “Back then we had to convince people to try ‘real’ craft beer.
Longtime Hyde Park brewmaster John Eccles “put us on the map with his big foam,” which focused on old-school German lagers, LoBianco-Barone said.
Food: Summer Bucket List for Hudson Valley Foodies
Dutch: County approves purchase of property for homeless shelter
Poughkeepsie: Principal fired amid court-reinstated graduation controversy
“As brewing evolved and new breweries started opening and introducing fruit beers and things like that, we believed in the way beer was originally made,” he said. she declared. “That genre stuck us a little bit, made us a little bit different.”
As breweries popped up in the area, LoBianco-Barone said, “we always thought competition was like, the more the better. It just made you sharper.”
In his Facebook post, Joey LoBianco said, “I’m sure there are a few members of the local craft beer community who had their first beers, had ideas, or were inspired in some way. another by HPBCo.”
LoBianco-Barone called Dutchess County “an incredible food and drink mecca.”
“We’ve been really lucky to grow with everyone and last this long,” she said. “Twenty-seven years is definitely a long time for someone in the food and beverage industry. But we were born and raised in the industry, and we kept going.”
The family could not continue, however, after COVID-19 took its toll on the hospitality industry.
“The last two years have been quite eye-opening,” LoBianco-Barone said. “The business environment is very different.”
Since the pandemic has rocked the economy, she said, it has also been difficult to find workers.
“It’s hard to run a business when there aren’t many people around, shockingly, looking for work,” LoBianco-Barone said. “Labour is really a problem. Owners can’t properly manage their business, all the finances, and make sure they’re financially strong while they’re in the kitchen, on the line, doing other responsibilities… to run the business. When you turn around and have to do a bit of everything, it’s a tough position to be in.”
Kleban said “it has been a difficult environment for all businesses, but especially for the hospitality industry”, where it has been particularly difficult to fill jobs. “I don’t know what the answer is.”
The future of the family
“The Hyde Park community has been wonderful,” LoBianco-Barone said. “It’s bittersweet.”
The brewery was a city staple and the owners “made everyone feel like family when they walked through the door,” said Melaine Rottkamp, president and CEO of Dutchess Tourism, who said they would be missed.
The Hyde Park Brewing Company property is up for sale, LoBianco-Barone said, but that may not be the end of the family hospitality.
“We’ll probably do another adventure, who knows,” she said. “Restaurants are in our blood.”