One of the most legendary breweries in the country, the first to serve that golden and delicious brew after prohibition, is bringing back a community favorite.

COVID-19 Ruins Everything

One of the most popular tourist attractions in the Great Utica area for years was the Saranac Brewery tour, or F.X. Matt Brewing Company tour. Like many other things that were ruined by COVID-19, the brewery tours down on Varick Street were one of them.

A Legendary History

The Saranac Brewery, as it's known now, has been family owned and operated for four impressive generations and the tradition of quality and excellence continues. The brewery was originally founded in 1888 by FX Matt. His son Walter took over in 1951 and FX's grandson FX Matt II took the reins in 1980. Now it's Fred Matt who is in charge and continues to expand and grow the legacy of this famed company and the delicious, quality and refreshing products they craft.

Surviving Prohibition

In 1920 the United State Constitution was amended to prohibit the sale of alcohol in the country, but that did not defeat or destroy FX Matt's company. He survived by making delicious Utica Club soft drinks and other non-alcoholic products. Other breweries in Utica were forced to closed their doors. It was in 1933 that prohibition was repealed and the West End Brewing Company, as it was known then, obtained the first license in the nation and was able to sell the first beer. That fact is proudly professed and printed on each and every Utica Club can.

The Impressive and Entertaining Tours


Throughout the recent history of the brewery it was a Central New York bucket list item to take the FX Matt Brewing Company tour and many who have visited the area for Boilermaker weekend or other events have taken advantage. They have not been disappointed. Many people who still live here in this community have memories of being a Saranac volunteer tour guide and took the opportunity to meet new people and advocate for our area and the beverages produced in the facility. Now after a long 3+ years the tours are back and I am sure will be better than ever with new products being created daily! The Saranac Brewery posted on their Facebook page the good news stating,

Tours are BACK! The VIP Tour is a behind-the-scenes tour of our brewery ending with a beer tasting of four different beers. Please email to book your 45-minute journey through one of America’s first breweries.

Tours are $20 per person and run Fridays and Saturdays at 3PM, 4PM and 5PM. Don't miss out on your chance to peek behind the curtain at the magic being made every day in the heart of West Utica. If you've never HAVE to go. You can even enjoy a fresh UC or other Saranac product in the 1888 Tavern when you're done and talk about all the cool stuff you just saw. What a great experience to enjoy with family and friends.

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