With 400-square-foot operation, Erving brewery aims to focus on quality over quantity

Freedom Street Brewery owner Errin Woessner enjoys the fruits of his labor at his brewery in Erving.

Freedom Street Brewery owner Errin Woessner enjoys the fruits of his labor at his brewery in Erving. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

A selection of beverages from Freedom Street Brewery in Erving.

A selection of beverages from Freedom Street Brewery in Erving. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Freedom Street Brewery owner Errin Woessner at his brewing operation in Erving.

Freedom Street Brewery owner Errin Woessner at his brewing operation in Erving. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Outshine, a New England-style pale ale, from Freedom Street Brewery in Erving.

Outshine, a New England-style pale ale, from Freedom Street Brewery in Erving. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Errin Woessner of Freedom Street Brewery in Erving pours a double IPA called Revive.

Errin Woessner of Freedom Street Brewery in Erving pours a double IPA called Revive. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

By ERIN-LEIGH HOFFMAN

Staff Writer

Published: 06-27-2024 11:19 AM

ERVING — With Freedom Street Brewery, owner and head brewer Errin Woessner has successfully fit a full brewing operation, including canning and labeling, into a 400-square-foot rental space in a River Street warehouse.

“Being small, to me, is better,” Woessner remarked when discussing the size of Freedom Street Brewery.

Indeed, Woessner’s craft started small, with Woessner brewing beer in his parents’ basement as a hobby. He became serious about brewing in 2016, at which time he started to can beer and fill kegs while working as a chef. In 2021, Woessner began working with the Greenfield-based Franklin County Community Development Corporation to formally start Freedom Street Brewery, which he named after the street he grew up on.

Woessner said working with the Franklin County CDC “really jumped things ahead.”

“We were kind of playing the hypothetical thing, thinking, ‘Someday I’d like to retire and open a brewery,’” Woessner recalled.

Thinking ahead to create a formal brewery was the plan, until a space at 1 River St. became available.

The building had two water sources to use for brewing and enough initial space for equipment, making it a hard opportunity to pass up, Woessner said. Two other prospective renters were on the waiting list to move in, so Woessner took the opportunity and Freedom Street Brewery officially became a limited liability company in February 2022.

Since 2022, Woessner has worked to create a collection of returning beers in different styles, plus seasonal flavors for the fall and summer. While brewing smaller quantities, he is able to prioritize high-quality hops from the Yakima Valley in Washington state and fresh fruit from a local farm in western Massachusetts.

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Staying true to the idea that smaller is better, Freedom Street Brewery labels, cans and distributes the product from its warehouse space rather than outsourcing those services. Woessner’s family has helped out with local distribution and his fiance, Heather K. Weber, designs the labels for all the beers.

“I started drawing ideas for what a label might look like, just playing around before we had even really gotten into anything other than just home brewing batches for ourselves to test out,” Weber recalled.

Once Freedom Street Brewery began brewing beer to sell, Weber began using a design tablet to digitally create the labels.

“I use a lot of vibrant colors, and sometimes it has a little bit of a cartoon aspect. Normally, I’ll go with the flavor profiles and components of the ales and beers, whatever we have,” Weber said of her design process. The phoenix design for the brewery’s logo came from Woessner, creating a unique design that signifies strength and freedom.

The last two years have been a “building time” for the business, as Woessner described it. Now, he is ready to begin expanding sales into more local stores, bars and restaurants. Woessner works as a chef, but hopes to make Freedom Street Brewery his full-time job in the next year.

Although the goal is to expand, Woessner still seeks to maintain the homegrown feeling that he takes pride in.

“In the future, we are looking at getting more equipment and opening a taproom,” Woessner added.

Weber has seen Freedom Street Brewery grow from its early stages, and anticipates the brewery will take off even more as plans to expand are brought to fruition.

“It’s something that has expanded, and [Woessner] continues to be so enthusiastic about that. It really portrays that toward others and gets them interested,” Weber said. “So I honestly feel like it’s going to take off really quickly once people know about it.”

Right now, Freedom Street Brewery sends beer to eight different merchants in Erving, Athol, Bernardston, Northfield, Millers Falls and Turners Falls. For more information, visit the brewery’s website at freedom-street.square.site.

Erin-Leigh Hoffman can be reached at ehoffman@recorder.com or 413-930-4231.