Our History

Our Building

Historical photo of Roe Jan Brewing Company building in Hillsdale from 1851.

When you visit us at 32 Anthony Street, you’re stepping into history. Our building dates to 1851, when it was built by Joshua Bulkeley to house the Hillsdale Mercantile Association. Since then it has been home to numerous businesses, including multiple general stores, a shirt factory, a beer bottling operation, a farm and feed supply store, a pop-up gallery, and lumber storage.

When we purchased the building in June 2018, it had been largely unoccupied for nearly 20 years. The upper walls were bowing out and the foundation had started to collapse. To repair the foundation, the entire building had to be lifted 6 feet in the air. Once the new foundation was in place, the structure was lowered and reinforced with new steel and reclaimed wooden posts and beams.

To restore the building’s historic architectural features, we peeled away the outer layer of siding on the east and west faces of the building to reveal the original board-and-batten exterior, and replaced the rotted roof brackets with replicas of the originals. (You’ll see the some of the original brackets now in use in the wood storage structure surrounding the beer garden.) We recreated the first floor balcony that had long been missing from the south side of the building. Inside the restaurant, an original grain hopper from the feed supply store remains as the centerpiece of our octagonal bar. In the restaurant you’ll see various other items that were found inside the building: the podium at the entryway, the doors to the coffee service area and bathrooms, grain sacks, and a “no smoking” sign that warns that if the building burns down, it can’t be rebuilt until after the war!

We welcome you to join us in writing the next page of this building’s history, and to spend time visiting this special town that we call home.

Hillsdale Historians Chris Atkins and Lauren Letellier have written a detailed history of our special building, from which much of this text is drawn. Read the complete historical narrative here. opens in a new window

Our Name

Historical photo of Hillsdale New York

Roeliff Jansen Kill—affectionately known to locals as the “Roe Jan”—is the small river that runs through Hillsdale. It begins just to our north in Austerlitz and continues south past Hillsdale through the towns of Copake, Ancram, Pine Plains, Gallatin, and Livingston, meeting the Hudson in Germantown. The Kill is named for Roeliff Jansen, a Scandinavian who immigrated to the area in the early 1600s and worked as a tenant farmer on land to the east of the Kill, near what is now Hillsdale.

The Roe Jan name is a point of local pride; as you drive through Hillsdale and surrounding towns, you’ll notice a number of businesses and locations named after the Kill. We chose the name for our brewery to honor the rich history of this area, and because its flow connects us with communities in Columbia and Dutchess counties, the Hudson River, and ultimately, New York City and the broader world.

Read more about the history of Roeliff and the Hillsdale area here. opens in a new window