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Brewery hopes to make Caledonia a destination.

Byline: Gino Fanelli

In 2012, Q's Restaurant and Party House at 3154 State St. in Caledonia officially shut its doors, leaving behind a gap on the central strip of the quaint village of 4,255.

Today, the space plays host to spare bowling equipment from next door's Cal-Bowl and a hearty supply of dust and cobwebs. But look beyond the clutter and you'll find a surprising piece of real estate for a town of Caledonia's size. Hardwood accents peek from every corner of the site, which is fitted with a large open floor, a couple corner bars and, up a double-width of stairs, a full-on concert venue rivaling most any medium-sized venue in Rochester.

It's a piece of property applications engineer Justin Caccamise has big visions for, a place he sees beer lovers making a pilgrimage to in the near future.

"There's not a lot of draw to Caledonia right now. There's nothing specifically that anyone would say 'I need to go to Caledonia for X, Y or Z," Caccamise said. "We've got some really great antique stores, the Village Inn on the corner is a fantastic restaurant; we got the Genesee Country Museum, which is right up the road from here, but outside of that, (the village doesn't) have a true destination spot."

Horns and Halos, Caccamise's brewery concept, is something he hopes will be that destination that helps bring a spotlight on the town. Horns and Halos was one of seven breweries and cideries to win a spot in the Brew in Livingston economic development project in 2017. Of the winners, Avon's experimental beer juggernaut Mortalis, which opened in August, has made the most waves in the greater Rochester beer community with off the wall offerings like Cerberus, a berries and cream berliner weiss brewed with copious amounts of mixed berries and marshmallows, and Venus, an English-style stout brewed with Nutter Butter cookies.

Caccamise is looking to take Horns and Halos in the exact opposite direction, with plans to focus on classic, Bavarian purity law-abiding beers, a direction he sees the market heading toward in coming years.

"Everybody's so desperate to try the new thing that brewers are desperate because you need to stay relevant," Caccamise said.

Caccamise points to India Pale Ales' domination in the marketplace, and while in the craft beer world IPAs seem to be unstoppable chart toppers, the culture around IPAs has shifted dramatically. Perhaps no brewery better represents the impact of those changes than San Diego's Green Flash. In the late 2000s, Green Flash was a heralded West Coast IPA purveyor with extra-bitter, mammoth beers like Palate Wrecker. By early 2018, the brewery had announced plans to cut 33 states from their 50 state footprint and, in April, Comerica foreclosed on the brewery and sold its assets to the newly formed WC IPA LLC.

A number of factors played into the fall of Green Flash, including a diluted marketplace as more local breweries opened and an overly ambitious business model based on a company with only a handful of regular offerings. But tastes played a part too. West Coast IPAs have fallen out of favor as hazy, juicy New England IPAs dominate, and beyond that, Milkshake IPAs, Sour IPAs, Smoothie IPAs, Brut IPAs and every other manner of IPA imaginable continue to keep the market in a constant state of disruption.

For Caccamise, he believes in a simpler philosophy than just keeping up with the trends: make good, classic beers at an affordable price.

"Let's be realistic, we're in Caledonia, New York. It's not a beer mecca. In five years we hope it is. We hope that people will be saying 'oh my god, you've got to go to Caledonia for Horns and Halos,'" Caccamise said.

With a planned 20-barrel capacity system, Horns and Halos intends to produce low-profile IPAs, North American-style lagers and classic porters and stouts as their mainstays, with most hovering in the 5-8 percent alcohol range. Also on the docket are a well-developed barrel aging program, barleywines and some more conservative twists and experiments.

From the start, Caccamise also plans for the brewery to begin distribution throughout Western New York, with a full-fledged canning line planned.

"This will be our pilot system. We'll move into production as it's called for," Caccamise said. The brewer is looking at "an agreement with a local company that has a full sales team, so we'll be doing some inside wholesale, but that will be all on a contract basis. We'll be doing canning right off the bat. Within the first month we should have a can release."

It's a big goal, especially in a hyper-competitive market in Western New York, but Caccamise is confident his beers, and the plans he has for the State Street building, will bring people in. Along with serving up drafts on a 12-24 tap bar and restaurant, the proposed brewery will use the upstairs space as a concert venue and events space fit with another bar. In the alley leading to Cal-Bowl, a wrought-iron gate will bear the "H and H" logo, blocking off a modest outdoors hangout spot. Along with all of that comes a full renovation of the Q's building, from the floorboards to lighting.

In total, Caccamise expects the brewery to employ 20 people full time, with up to 60 employees including part-time workers.

Horns and Halos is expected to open in late summer or early fall. 653-4022

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Author:Fanelli, Gino
Publication:Rochester Business Journal
Geographic Code:1U2NY
Date:Feb 13, 2019
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