Skytop Coffee Head Roaster and Cafe Manager Eli Swick now divides his time between the coffee shop and the new roastery inside The Yard, a former rail yard complex of three buildings, a barn and an outdoor area that now houses a variety of artisans and small businesses.
The coffee company, co-owned by Serena Lerner and her husband Aaron Lerner, relocated its Probat P12 into a roughly 1,200-square-foot space late last year, then kicked off 2022 by winning a Good Food Award for beans browned under the new industrial roof.
“We started the year off with a huge honor,” Aaron Lerner told Daily Coffee News of the GFA recognition, which was promptly followed by two 94-point reviews through Coffee Review. “The new roastery is USDA Certified Organic just as our original was… It really is our mission to not only roast and serve great coffee, but to do it with a commitment to the natural environment here and abroad.”
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The owners of The Yard have been continually renovating and updating facilities since 2016, transforming the rural complex located a short drive east from Syracuse into an open-air hub for art, performances and community events.
The remodeling has emphasized the creative reuse of existing and acquired objects and materials, such as exterior corner pylons made from old rail car drums that once carried molasses. Plans for the site include food vendors and a tasting room for local brewing company Single Cut Beersmiths.
Within the eclectic digs, Skytop now has approximately eight times more production space than it did previously in the corner of the cafe, where a new commercial kitchen has expanded the food offerings.
Last April, the company added a Ground Control brewing system to its equipment lineup behind the bar.
“We still have plenty of room to grow on the P12 as we increase the number of days a week that we roast,” Lerner said of the next heights to which Skytop intends to rise. “We are looking to grow our wholesale program at the local and national level.”
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