ITHACA, NY – A pair of Tompkins entrepreneurs have set the wheels in motion for a new craft brewery called Liquid State Brewing Company that will make its home at 521 West State Street, according to city documents.

Ben Brotman, a longtime brewer formerly with Ithaca Beer Company, and Jamey Tielens, a former teacher who and now project manager at Cornell’s Lab of Ornithology, are partnering to launch the new company.

Brotman will head up the brewing operation, while Tielens will be focusing on the logistics of the business. Tielens also owns a hop farm in Trumansburg,  which will funnel its production toward the new brewery operation.

They plan to start their line of brews with variety of hoppy ales, before expanding into seasonal specialty beers — particularly barrel-aged beers — and other styles. The beers will be distributed to local bars, restaurants and stores, with hopes to eventually expand to Syracuse, Binghamton and other cities.

According to their business plan, Liquid State says they will be able to produce 780 barrels — a little over 24,000 gallons — in the first production year. They plan to at least double that number in the subsequent year.

Liquid State will also feature a taproom to sell their creations on-site, along with a snacks and a small selection of merchandise. They also plan to coordinate with local food trucks, who will make regular visits to the parking lot and sell food that patrons can enjoy along with their beer in the taproom.

Brotman and Tielens plan to add Liquid State to the list of “must-visit” breweries along the Finger Lakes Beer Trail. They also hope that their brewery will stand out to locals as craft brewery that actually runs its brewing operations near the city center — other local breweries all have operations outside of the city.

The estimated cost for the project is $600,000. They are applying for a $70,000 loan from the Ithaca Urban Renewal Agency, with the rest being covered by personal contributions and a bank loan. The timeline laid out in the company’s application targets January for a grand opening of the brewery and taproom.

(Featured photo by Quinn Dombrowski on Flickr)

Michael Smith reports on politics and local news for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached via email at, by cell at (607) 229-0885, or via Google Voice at (518) 650-3639.