In 1980 Frank and Diane Mercadante began their marriage with the quote: “A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter; whoever finds one finds a treasure.” In the years that followed, Frank and Diane made the Tri-City area their home—raising their six children, living a dedicated family life, and building a community of welcome and service in their church and their community. Nearly 20 years later Frank began home brewing as a hobby, creating a variety of complex and interesting beers shared at gatherings with friends and family.
In 2018, Frank and Diane met fellow brewer, Oliver Bulley, and their friendship laid the foundation for what was to come. Soon a dream began to take shape—a space for people to come together around a table and find comfort and welcome while sharing expertly crafted beer. Oliver’s spirit of service and his hospitality experience combined with Frank and Diane’s dedication to community, made Sturdy Shelter Brewing become a reality.
Our Taproom opened in 2022 as an independent craft brewery valuing personal service and quality beer. We hope that when you visit Sturdy Shelter Brewing you'll find a warm and welcoming place that feels like home—a true treasure.
Owner & Head Brewer
General Manager & Brewer
The Sturdy Shelter Brewing building, at 10 South Shumway, has a rich history as a community gathering space dating back to the mid-1800s. The space was originally constructed by a stock company, with shares sold at $100 each to raise funds for a central community space. Named the Batavia Music Hall, the building was a wood structure with a limestone basement and featured a seating capacity of 525. It hosted many historical performances, was used as a roller rink, and gave the citizens a place to connect with one another.
In the early 1900s, it housed a printing office before burning down to its foundation in March 1910. A new brick structure was built on the original stone foundation and the building reopened as the Batavia Opera House in 1912, hosting vaudeville, orchestras, and many other performances. In 1924 the building became the Vanity Theater where residents could see a silent picture show, and then was purchased in 1943 and renamed The Capitol Theater. In 1948 it was renamed for a final time as the Batavia Theater. The last film was shown here in 1957.
The building housed many businesses between 1957 and the early 2000s before sitting vacant for several years. By the mid-2000s the building’s façade was falling apart, the interior decaying, and it lacked structural stability and integrity like many other buildings in the Foundry District. Committed to the community, Mike Kluber of Kluber Architects + Engineers, renovated the property in 2006. They aimed to keep the original integrity of the building while making it more structurally strong. Sturdy Shelter Brewing found the property when it went up for sale, and fell in love. Our brewery name and logo had already been established when we saw the steeple-shaped building, and it felt meant to be. We hope to honor the history and location, bringing the community together in a fantastic spot in downtown Batavia.