from our family to yours
farming a legacy
agriculture in adams county, pa
the importance of farming in our brewing operation
Our business knowledge comes from the management of our multi-generational family fruit growing operation that has been in the industry for over eighty (80) years. The experience that we have gained over the years has led to a strong foundation for the creation of Thirsty Farmer Brew Works.
our family business history
In 1926, the Knouse family got its big break in the fruit industry when Milton E. Knouse, took over management of a local, struggling apple and vegetable processing plant. The plant operated under Knouse Corporation and was used to process apples grown by him and other nearby orchard owners.
In 1949, the Knouse Coporation, which now included additional processing plants, approached a group of local fruit growers and together they formed a grower owned co-op called Knouse Foods Co-op. The farmers, in need of a leader, called upon Milton E. Knouse to assume the CEO position.
During the 1950s, Milton E. Knouse began purchasing additional land to grow our own fruit for processing under the business name M.E. Knouse Orchards. That's a long time to be in business, but let's say our style has matured well over time. It's provided us with a long standing relationship with the earth we love, which we're happy to share with anyone who catches us for a chat while visiting.
In 1966, Milton E. Knouse retired from Knouse Foods Co-op and began the full time management of his own 1,400 acres of farmland. Much of this same land still remains in the family business today.
As of 1973, on the death of Milton E. Knouse, the farms of M.E Knouse Orchards were incorporated into Knouse Fruitlands, Inc., which is the company we operate today.
1992 - present
Knouse Fruitlands Inc. continues today under the ownership of the third generation, with the fourth generation and great-grandchildren of Milton E. Knouse, waiting the in the wings to continue on the family heritage. The 1,200+ acres of land scattered over seven farms in Adams, Cumberland and Franklin Counties holds over 600 acres of apples and an additional 100 acres of other fruits and vegetables. This same land produces much of the fruits and vegetables you will find in the Round Barn Farm Market.
our home-grown produce allows us to create a high quality product
Our passion for farming allows us to feature unique, “one of a kind” beers that highlight the season as well as utilize the many opportunities to use our own grown fruits and vegetables from the Round Barn Farm. Our hard cider is produced in small batches, only using fruits that are grown on the Round Barn Farm.
We have access to over 30 varieties of apples that allow us to produce unique varieties of hard cider.
Because we have a passion for farming and growing fresh produce, we believe our product stands out among our competitors. We realize the importance of agriculture in the burgeoning market of the craft beer industry, and we wish to contribute to it through our knowledge and capacity to grow apples, peaches, pears, nectarines, apricots and hops—to name a few of our home-grown products. At this time, Pennsyvlania is working on some new legislation that will require cideries to produce a product that contains more than 30% of real apple juice. Our cider is fermented with 100% home-grown apples and each cider batch is crafted in small quantities to assure its quality for our customers. We take great pride in knowing the unique characteristics of apples, as well as knowing where those apples came from—from blossom to mature fruit.
Our hop farm sits on our Round Barn Farm property, only steps away from the Thirsty Farmer brew pub site. Hop cones provide beer with several characteristics. The “first boil” of hops provides the beer’s bitterness; the second boil provides hops flavor; and the last boil of hops provides the beer with the lovely hops aroma that we love in styles like India Pale Ale (IPA) or Pale Ale. Our hop bines are situated on a one (1) acre plot at our Round Barn Farm, and we’ve been able to partner with Troegs Independent Brewing (Hershey, PA) to pulverize our hop cones into hop pellets. Hop pellets are the product of dried and de-moisturized hop cones; their powdery nature allows hops to be stored for a longer time period without losing the integrity of their quality, aroma and flavor.
At this time, we are partnered with a few, select breweries, including GearHouse Brewing Company in Chambersburg, PA. The GearHouse purchased over 400 lbs of hops from us this past year to brew several collaboration beers and "PA Preferred” beers, which feature only Pennsylvania-grown hops and malts. You can find out more about the Pennsylvania Commonwealth’s PA Preferred movement HERE and follow the hashtag #PApreferred on social media sites.
we grow seven (7) varieties of hops on-site:
Round Barn Farm Market
Not only do we value the farming and brewing processes, but we also have a passion for promoting the sales and consumption of fresh, local produce and Pennsylvania-produced goods. The Round Barn Farm was purchased from the Lynn family in 1985, and we’ve been proud to maintain the function and beauty of the Round Barn over the last 3 decades. At the Historic Round Barn & Farm Market, you'll find we sell one of the largest selections of apple and peach varieties in the area, in season. See our fruit section for a menu of what you can expect!
We also offer a wide selection of other seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables, grown by us or our family farming friends. While shopping in the "round", be on the look out for some delicious products made with our very own apples, peaches, strawberries, cucumbers, and tomatoes. We also have many other tasty food offerings lining our shelves, including locally made, small batch products. Don't forget our baked goods section, filled with to die for cookies, pies, muffins, and breads baked in-house or sourced locally.
While you're visiting, you'll also see a wide variety of gifts and seasonal decorations that are as beautiful as the craftsmanship behind them.