WEEDSPORT | "Lunkenheimer" just sounds like a beer name.

And so Lunkenheimer Craft Brewing Co. was christened by owners Derric Slocum and Kristen Lunkenheimer-Slocum. The Weedsport residents opened the North Seneca Street nanobrewery — classified as such because it produces less than 2,000 barrels a year — on Oct. 1.

Kristen's German maiden name "just flowed right" as the label for their business, Derric said. Their dog, Trooper, made a handsome face as its logo, which can be found on every one of Lunkenheimer's kegs, growlers and pint glasses.

Together, that name and image represent a wide-ranging identity for the Slocums as brewers.

"We like diversity," Derric said. "Otherwise we'd get bored."

Lunkenheimer's seven beer taps will serve a few regular staples along with a rotation of new flavors, the Slocums said. Among their more far-out brews are a Pineapple Pale Ale and a Rye Hefe (hefeweizen) that carries the banana flavor of the German yeast.

For now, though, the Slocums are trying to reach out to the area's longtime Coors or Budweiser drinkers, not repel them with obscure beers, they said. Hop-heavy IPAs, for instance, will be a slow introduction.

The Slocums, who serve on a Weedsport revitalization committee, see Lunkenheimer as an opportunity for the village's economy — a reason for commuters to stop at the busy nearby intersection of Route 34 and Brutus Street.

They've also met and gotten to know Garrett Shepherd of the recently opened Good Shepherds Brewing Co. in Auburn and Mike Sigona of the new Thirsty Pug Craft Beer Market in the city — as well as several customers directed to Lunkenheimer by them.

The successive emergence of these beer businesses in Cayuga County is a boon to everyone, the Slocums said.

"Craft beer is nothing like corporate America — everyone works together," Derric said. "It's a very collaborative business. Everyone helps each other."

Derric and Kristen's joint effort to open Lunkenheimer began a few years ago. Her interest in beer and wine production was wedded to his know-how as a home-brewer of several years, and the ball started rolling. Their purchase of brew kettles two years ago was the "it's gonna happen point" for Lunkenheimer, Derric said.

The couple spent December to October turning the former laundromat space into a brewery and complying with the New York State Liquor Authority. Since opening, they've cut their batch time from eight hours to five, and already figured out they need two more fermenters to sustain their operation.

The next step, the Slocums said, is growing Lunkenheimer from a one-barrel system into a 15-barrel one — the kind of full-scale operation that'd let them leave their day jobs. But before they help themselves, Kristen said, they'd like to help their town.

"Right now it's driven by passion as opposed to profits," she said.

Lake Life Editor David Wilcox can be reached at (315) 282-2245 or david.wilcox@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @drwilcox.

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