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New Hudson-brewed beer set for summer kickoff

American Sky Beer co-founders Greg and Molly Harris are working toward offering their first tasting of their signature ale, Amber Salute by late June after establishing the new business in Hudson this month. Photo by Jon Echternacht1 / 2
The Amber Salute label, the feature product from American Sky Beer Company in Hudson includes a strong World War II theme with a B-17 bomber and pilot in period gear. Submitted graphic2 / 2

Turning a hobby into a successful business is the dream of most every entrepreneur.

A young couple is pursuing that dream while creating a new beer and brewing it in Hudson.

Greg and Molly Harris are in the process of developing American Sky Beer at 1510 Swasey St. with their sights on producing the first batch of their signature ale for tasting in late June.

"Molly's late step-father was a home brewer and I learned from him. I have been home brewing for about 10 years," said Greg, 36, during a conversation in the 6,000 square foot building where the new beer will be born.

The trappings of a brewery, stacks of amber bottles, bags of Wisconsin grain and a vat or two, were scattered around the floor last week while the previous occupant moved things out.

The Harrises plan to start with a 15-barrel brewing operation and the first tasting expected around the start of Booster Days in Hudson.

"By mid-August we plan to start mass production," Greg said.

Ale is the brew of choice and "Amber Salute", is the prime product. "I've been working with the recipe for 10 years," said Gregg.

He plans to follow up with an India Pale Ale (IPA) and golden ale later on.

The company logo and labels for Amber Salute carry a strong theme of flying and World War II. A subtle red, white and blue design with wings and a star are featured in the company logo and a World War II B-17 Flying Fortress stands in the background. A woman pilot (Amber) dressed in a vintage leather flight jacket will grace each bottle of Amber Salute.

"My great grandfather served in World War I, one grandfather served in World War II and the other in the Korean War," said Greg who, along with his father, has been a pilot.

"We wanted to emphasize the American spirit," said Molly, 35. "Our slogan is, 'Let Freedom Pour.'"

If anything, Greg and Molly may represent the American spirit. Their fourth child is a year old and they are about to acquire a dog. "We got the lease on the building in February, got funding for the business in April, got the federal permit the first of May and the state permit May 9," Greg said.

"New kid, new dog, new business," he said.

Their three other children are 11, 10 and four years old.

Molly and Greg represent the whole business now. The older children and Greg's sister will figure into the equation in the future.

"I think it's good for the children to see the passion involved," said Molly who is listed as co-founder and will serve as the utility person filling in all areas of the business from promotion and PR to the more mundane tasks.

Greg has taken additional training and is the certified master brewer.

Greg is an engineer for Boston Scientific in the Twin Cities and in that capacity he and the family served a stint in Ireland from 2007-2010.

"When we left Ireland, we made the decision to live in Wisconsin and the Hudson area," said Greg. He and Molly lived in Hugo, Minn., before heading overseas.

"The craft brewing industry has not taken off over there like it has in the U.S.," he said. While living in Clonmel, Ireland, County Tipperary a few of the locals took a liking to his brew...a significant testimonial from the Emerald Isle.

Back in the USA the American spirit is gaining ground at 1510 Swasey St.