Serving and Brewing Justice

By Ruth Augustin '15

Published Monday, November 9, 2015


When Dan Mathews III '90 began filling out his college applications, another harsh New York winter was beginning to set in. He considered many programs and schools, but he had already fallen in love with the very same school that his sister attended; the College of Boca Raton. It was not until 1991 that the College of Boca Raton became Lynn University. Though Dan was 1,500 miles away from home, he knew he had made the right choice. In 1990 he graduated with a degree in Business Administration. Afterwards he attended the Syracuse University College of Law. He realized then that his academic experience at Lynn had been a great foundation for the rigorous class work.


After graduating, Mathews joined his father at the Mathews Law Firm. His grandfather began the firm in the 1930s and after the passing of Dan’s father, he is now the third generation to carry it on. Mathews handles personal injury cases, real estate and corporate clients. He also represents a Savings and Loan to handle all their legal work. But that’s not all that he does for the justice system. Since 2001, Mathews has been the Town of Geddes Justice, the Village of Solvay Justice since 2005, and an Acting City of Syracuse Judge since 2005. He is responsible for two main courts in Geddes and Village. Through these positions Mathews has to arraign the defendants, advise them of the charges against them; he ensures that all of their rights are protected and determines bail. Within each court, he manages a staff, the budget and finance. These experiences have taught Matthews to deal with many people who have different perspectives. He has to listen to their points of view and work to solve the major problem.


When Mathews is not serving the law, he’s brewing beers! He opened his own brewery, Local 315 Brewing Company, “I read an article on the resurgence of hops as a commodity crop, and how Central New York was the largest hops producing area in the country prior to prohibition. With cabin fever in the middle of the winter, I got a little over enthusiastic and ordered 300 hops plants. I spent a majority of the following spring trying to get them in the ground, getting the trellis system rigged and just figuring out how to be a hops farmer. I loved every minute of it,” said Mathews, who was able to accomplish all of this on a farm that his family has owned since 1972. After his harvest was a major success, he decided to attend the New York State fair, where a hops display was present. Inspired by how well he had done in such a short amount of time, he moved further and ordered 1000 more plants the following winter. By spring he owned an acre of hops plants, and with that large scale he had to make a decision on how to get state certified. Overall, opening a brewery became the best option so he obtained a license to process the beer, which carried over the license to process hops. That is when Local 315 Brewing began. Mathews actually played a major role in changing the legislation of farming to include the brewing of beer. He met with local town leaders where his farm is located to draft the legislation that allowed his brewery to open.


But how is it possible that one man can accomplish such a multitude of things? “I have never been afraid to work hard and keep pushing forward. I try not to look at how hard a task will be, just put my head down and keep moving towards that goal,” said Mathews. He is named after his grandfather and father, who were both very successful attorneys and businessmen. “I felt a tremendous amount of pressure growing up to live up to their name. They laid a wonderful foundation for me and their hard work has opened doors for me that I appreciate every day. I am very lucky to have had such great mentors and try to remember that in all that I do.” Mathews’ motivation to honor those and the legacy which he is named for is evident in all he has accomplished and continues to do.


For students who are considering the legal profession Mathews has left a word of advice, “Be prepared to work hard, but it is a wonderful profession. Find a mentor and learn all you can about the practical side of the law. Law school will teach you the theory, but a good mentor will teach you how to apply it in everyday practice; that practical learning experience is invaluable.”

For more information on 315 Local Brewing Company check out:




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