After nearly six years, Lost Borough Brewing Company will be closing its doors, and new brewery Heroes Brewing Company will take over the facility, the owners of both companies said Tuesday.
Lost Borough opened in November 2014 on Atlantic Avenue amid a wave of new craft breweries entering the region, including Knucklehead, Swiftwater, and Lock 32. But an increasingly competitive industry coupled with life changes for co-owners Dan Western, Dave Finger, Carl Langsenkamp, and Trevor Demott ultimately brought them to sell off the business.
It wasn’t a quick decision. Langsenkamp said plans to shift the business had been underway for about nine months.
“I had a new job, Dave had a new job, Trevor got married, we had all of these life changes,” Langsenkamps said. “Dave was about to have his second kid, and we started to really discuss where we were going to go as a brewery.”
In February, Lost Borough’s financial struggles were detailed in a CITY story outlining the pending brewery saturation point in Rochester. Monroe County does enjoy the highest economic impact from brewing of any county in New York, accounting for 1,397 jobs, $126 million in wages, and $679.5 million in total economic output in 2018, according to the New York State Brewers Association.
But Langsenkamp said it still is a competitive industry that requires constant work.
“You need to keep expanding and decide how far you’re going to be able to go in this business,” Langsenkamp said.
Heroes is co-owned by Phil Boulanger and Greg Fagen, two homebrewers who both served as finalists in the 2017 Brew in Livingston competition. That Livingston County economic development initiative also spawned Mortalis Brewing Company, which is currently listed as one of the top breweries in the world on beer review site Untappd.
Heroes was initially incorporated by Fagen and his wife Marlene in 2013, but has never operated a commercial brewery.
“We’ve looked at breweries to purchase over time,” Fagen said. “We became friends with Dan and the crew at Lost Borough, and one thing led to another and they said ‘how about considering buying us.’”
Heroes has a plan to open in late summer, or as quickly as the New York state permits come in. Boulanger will lead brewing operations. The purchase of the facility includes a fully operational seven-barrel brew system.
Fagen said the goal is to offer a diverse array of beer styles at Heroes, with some off-the-wall offerings sprinkled in.
“We’re going to be fairly agnostic as far as style,” Fagen said. “The objective is to make something that people expect, but also from time to time put something out there that’s new and fresh.”
Gino Fanelli is a staff writer for CITY. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.