Good Question: What’s the history behind Genesee Brew House’s keg tree?

Good Question: Genesee Brewery’s keg tree

Good Question: Genesee Brewery's keg tree

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Genesee Brewery’s keg tree is officially lit for the holiday season, and each year it seems to get bigger and better. 

In its nine years, the keg tree has become one of Rochester’s most anticipated holiday traditions. News10NBC wanted to know the story behind it. 

“Christmas trees and trees in general are synonymous with the holiday season,” says John Lyons, associate brand manager for Genesee Brewery. “Rochester didn’t really have anything in that vain, so it was like, ‘What can we do?'” 

That tree now has 532 kegs wrapped in 24,000 color-changing lights. Each empty keg weighs in at roughly 31 pounds. 

So, how did it all get started? 

“We work at a brewery. Next thing you know, we had a couple people challenge one another, ‘You think we could make a tree out of some kegs? Yeah, sure.’ Next thing you know, they’re stacking and it’s about three stories high when it’s all said and done,” says Lyons. “And the rest is history, as they say.”

The tree is made of different kegs each year. Before they were used for the tree, they held a variety of Genny beers. You might’ve enjoyed a pint poured from one of the kegs at the Genny Brew House. 

“We have a thorough sanitation system in the brewhouse that cleans everything, redistributes. And yeah, they get reallocated, and we get new ones out here every year to make the new keg tree,” Lyons explains.

There’s a white cap on some of the kegs, with the name of the beer it once contained. Sitting on top of all those empty kegs is a brand new tree topper. It’s a 3D Genny pint glass, guiding Rochester beer lovers to a place where they can fill their cup. 

“It takes months of planning to get this up and running,” says Lyons. “And then this week leading up to it, it’s so much fun to be a part of it and see it come to life.”

By the way, together, all of those kegs weigh roughly 17,000 pounds. 

If you missed the tree lighting on Friday, don’t worry. You can see it at the Genesee Brew House through the end of the December.