(Photo: Courtesy Carrie Blackmore; illustration: Jessica De Jesus)

This Innovative Brewery Serves Up Suds Made Entirely From Local Ingredients

Carrie Blackmore is being honored by In Her Company, a campaign celebrating the power, creativity, and impact of 30 inspiring women entrepreneurs.
Nov 14, 2014· 2 MIN READ
TakePart Staff

Carrie Blackmore found her inspiration while visiting Central New York and falling in love with its beautiful landscape and rich history. In a male-dominated industry, she opened Good Nature Farm Brewery & Tap Room and contributed to a thriving community.

Good Nature
Farm Brewery & Tap Room

HQ: Hamilton, N.Y.
Industry: Craft beer
Founded: 2010

As New York state’s first farm brewery, Good Nature Farm Brewery & Tap Room is a small, independently owned microbrewery specializing in handcrafted all-natural ales made with local ingredients.

TakePart: How did you come up with the idea for your business? Was there a turning point that convinced you to start your own business?

Carrie Blackmore: The craft beer industry revolves around quality ingredients and traditional techniques and demands a firm grounding in the history of our craft. Good Nature applies the farm-to-table ethos to craft beer. Our region, Central New York state, is known for its hops-growing heritage. Rural areas like ours grew and exported the crops necessary for producing beer to urban areas. Good Nature attempts to turn that on its head, sourcing the ingredients locally and producing our value-added agricultural product—beer—right here in farm country.

TakePart: Do you see any common challenges among female business owners and entrepreneurs?

Blackmore: The craft beer industry is dominated by men. I find myself in the minority most of the time. When I meet someone for the first time, whether it is a customer, a potential employee, or a supplier, they are always taken aback when they learn I run our company. That said, I am fortunate because our industry is generally very open. Industry members tend to judge one another on their knowledge of their craft and the quality of their product, regardless of sex.

TakePart: Who are your customers, and how do you engage and reach them?

Blackmore: Until we’re able to expand again (hopefully within the next year or so) Good Nature is a regional brand. We wholesale our product via regional distributors to bars, restaurants, and stores throughout Central and Northern New York state. Our wholesale customers are usually “craft-savvy” accounts who know quality beer. We also operate a retail outlet, or Tap Room, where we offer our beer by the glass, growler, bottle, and keg to walk-in customers. Our retail customers are diverse, ranging from university faculty members, students, farmers, young professionals, and retirees to tourists visiting from out of town. It may sound trite, but beer brings all kinds of people together. The craft beer culture is about hospitality, good food, good drink, and good conversation. Those are things anyone can get behind.

TakePart: Why is sustainability important to you? How do you incorporate sustainability into your product and business practice?

Blackmore: It is important to me that we run our business in an environmentally and socially responsible way. We source everything from raw materials—packaging, merchandise, and more (really anything we can)—locally or at least within our state whenever possible. This isn’t just important for reducing our carbon footprint and stimulating our local economies. A major part of what sustainability means to us at Good Nature is about relationships. We are trying to cultivate a culture of commerce here that involves really knowing the people with whom you do business—whether he/she is a hops farmer, a screen printer, or a welder. Our goal is an honest exchange between two companies that involves both parties truly understanding each other’s needs, goals, and particularities. That way, everyone grows together and conducts their businesses in an inherently more sustainable way.

(Photo: Good Nature Brewing)

TakePart: What has surprised you the most about starting your own business?

Blackmore: I certainly don’t feel like we’re in a vacuum anymore. Between our fabulous team and our customers believing in what we do and enjoying our product, I am surprised and delighted to have achieved the kind of culture and the quality product we have in a short time. Of course that was always our goal, but having our customers and coworkers embrace Good Nature has not been the hard part. I am more proud of that than of anything else thus far.

This post is part of the series "In Her Company," created in collaboration with Eileen Fisher and designed to celebrate the power, creativity, and impact of women-owned businesses. Check out more stories at takepart.com/in-her-company.