Southern Tier Brewing Company Co-Owner Discusses Past, Future With Rotary

Phin DeMink, co-owner of Southern Tier Brewing Company with his wife, recently told Jamestown AM Rotary Club members a little bit about his journey, how he started making beer in college, went to school for furniture design, making beer became an obsession, changed his academic path and went to beer school.

DeMink said he worked first as a brewer at Ellicottville, then Goose Island, before coming to the Jamestown area about 10 years ago to start his own company. DeMink has degrees in beering science and beering technology.

DeMink began with three employees and Southern Tier Brewing has grown over 10 years to 39 employees, with 34 locally and another five in sales in Batavia. When DeMink opened the doors in 2003, Southern Tier was producing 3,600 barrels a year. This year production is anticipated to be 90,000 barrels.

Last year Southern Tier completed a couple of large capital projects including a 100-barrel brew house that is fully automated and high speed. Prior to this the company could brew 1,300 barrels a week, now it is 2,500 barrels in 3days.

Southern Tier distributes beer to 34 states and internationally to eight countries, but his core markets are New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio. When asked why his beer is so popular, DeMink indicated he gets his high-quality barley from Thunder Bay, Canada and that one of the major ingredients is water, and the water is great around the Chautauqua County area. Also, Phin noted that he buys futures, which allows him to not be subject to shortages or being forced to purchase poor quality ingredients.

A new project coming up this spring is the anaerobic digester, which is a waste system that will generate methane gas – create energy from waste stream and will no longer tax the water district system.

Also noted by all is the Pumking beer brand that has created a bit of a phenomenon among pumpkin-flavored beers. And, DeMink noted that Southern Tier just received a distiller’s license and will be making gin and rum in the near future.

For more information about Southern Tier Brewing Company, its history and products, visit

For more information about the Greater Jamestown AM Rotary, call contact Don Ray at 450-4605 or email