Brittany Berry and Logan Bonney are former Onondaga Community College students who are carving out a place for themselves in the world of craft brewing, but their product isn’t beer. It’s a line of alcoholic beverages which are carbonated. “Anything But Beer’s” unique collection of flavors include “Chai Your Luck” ginger chai cider, “Fired Up” spicy mulled cider and “The Root Less Traveled” spiced sweet potato. Their start-up brewery is located on Syracuse’s west side at 1153 West Fayette Street, an address better known as the Cosmopolitan Building. The site is within OCC’s expanded footprint in the START-UP NEW YORK program which provides participants with tax benefits and access to assistance from the College. “From the beginning our relationship with OCC has been awesome. The space we have and the support group around us have been invaluable,” said Bonney. “We’ve been talking to possible new hires,” added Berry. “The moment we mention START-UP the reaction has been, ‘Yes!’ It’s going to help us attract a lot of great talent.”
Anything But Beer’s beverages start with a mixture of fruit and vegetable sugars. They are blended with locally grown fruit and vegetable juices and carbonated. Anything But Beer is a “farm brewery,” a designation given to those who use a large percentage of local products. The one ingredient you won’t find is grain and its absence is their biggest selling point. When Berry and Bonney were doing market research they discovered how many people didn’t like the taste of beer and preferred a grain free alcoholic beverage. At the same time Berry was going through a dietary change and realized when she eliminated grains, chronic pain she had been experiencing went away. “Thanks to the feedback we are getting from people now about how much they like what we are making, I feel like I have a personal support system.”
Berry and Bonney each bring a unique skill set to Anything But Beer. Berry oversees Marketing and Development. She is a graduate of Faith-Heritage High School and a 2008 alumna of OCC’s Interior Design major. She is now studying Industrial Interaction Design with a focus on User Research and Customer Experience.
Bonney is the Strategist and Brew Master. He is a Long Island native who joined the Air Force at age 19. He enrolled in OCC’s Mechanical Technology program because he wanted to learn how to make parts so he could build a gyroplane and be the first to fly one around the world. That plan never made it off the ground, but he did go on to earn a bachelor’s in Business Administration and a master’s in Entrepreneurship.
You can find Anything But Beer’s products at The Stoop Kitchen, 311 West Fayette Street in Armory Square, and Stout Beard Brewing Company at 126 Dell Street in Syracuse. The response has been great. “We give them a keg and it’s empty in two days,” said Bonney. “We weren’t expecting that.”
As demand increases Anything But Beer will take all of the help it can get from OCC. They were at a job fair on campus last month, taking advantage of the new relationship. “It’s great to have access to human capital there,” said Bonney. “We are talking to students about starting a hiring process with them and department heads about what their needs are. Our demand is a lot more than we were expecting right away.”
If you are a student or faculty member interested in getting involved with Anything But Beer, contact Internship Coordinator Lori Davis in the Career Services office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are a business looking for more information on START-UP NY, contact OCC’s Russ Corbin at email@example.com.