Based in Germantown, New York, Hudson Valley Malt produces malt using traditional, old-school methods, utilizing locally grown barley, wheat and rye. On June 14, 2023, 3,800 lbs. of its malted barley were loaded onto the Schooner Apollonia in Hudson, New York to be delivered to craft breweries at New York ports along the Hudson River in Poughkeepsie, Haverstraw, Ossining and Brooklyn.
The Schooner Apollonia, a restored 1946 merchant sailing vessel utilizing winds and the tides, ensures a zero-emission delivery opportunity for the malt as well as a variety of other shelf-stable goods. Since its first voyage in May of 2020, the Apollonia has kept a full manifest through 11 round trips and more than a dozen stops between Troy and Brooklyn, in its steel-sided, 10-ton cargo hold.
The cargo manifest for its June trip also included three cases of cider from Greenpoint Cidery produced in Hudson, New York; two cases of maple syrup from Viking Maple based in Canaan, New York; two cases of fermented hot sauce from Poor Devil Pepper Company; five cases of black currant products from CurrantC in Staatsburg, New York; and sixty cases of Flotsam Beer from Hudson Valley Brewery.
Like Hudson Valley Malt, the other companies utilizing the Schooner Apollonia typically utilize locally sourced, sustainably grown produce. Each trip provides an opportunity to educate people about moving toward a more environmentally friendly, carbon-neutral future. In some ports, the Apollonia will utilize solar-powered, electric vehicles or bikes to complete the final leg of the delivery.
The 64-foot Schooner Apollonia was built in Baltimore, Maryland in 1946 having been designed by the naval architect J. Murray Watts. But for 30 years the boat sat idle in Boston, Massachusetts until Sam Merrett, now its captain, purchased it in 2015. Sam, who converted truck engines from diesel fuel to vegetable oil and learned to sail on the Hudson River, became intrigued with the idea of shipping freight on a sailing vessel. Over a five-year period, he assembled a crew to restore the Apollonia and by 2020, they revived sail freight as a viable, sustainable means to transport commercial goods up and down the Hudson River.