beer

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Federal food regulators are backing off of proposed changes to what craft brewers can do with the leftover grains from the beer making process.

Craft brewers in New York have said the proposal would hurt their businesses.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) had called for the Food and Drug Administration to abandon the change. He announced Thursday FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg agreed to revise the rule to avoid "unintended consequences" that would harm brewers and farmers.

Brewers provide spent grain to dairy farmers as a low-cost or free source of cow feed.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Some New York craft brewers are asking their local congressman to reduce the federal taxes on their beer so they can continue to grow.

The number of craft brewers in the state has risen to more than 140 in the past two decades as demand for more flavorful beers has grown. A handful of brewers met with Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei Monday at Empire Brewery in Syracuse. They had two main requests.

A reduction in the federal excise tax will help them expand, Mark Rubenstein, owner of Middle Ages Brewery, said.

Kate O'Connell/Innovation Trail

Sen. Charles Schumer says lifting a ban on the U.S. Postal Service shipping alcohol will help both the struggling postal carrier and New York’s growing beer and wine industry.

Private carriers like UPS and Fed-Ex can deliver mail-order alcohol. Schumer, a Democrat from New York, is pushing for the USPS to be able to do the same. The ban against it transporting alcohol dates back to Prohibition.

"It will be a way for consumers far and wide to order their favorite New York beers and wines and get hold of them." Schumer said in a conference call with reporters Wednesday. 

A century ago, New York could claim that much of its liquor was local, thanks to distilleries large and small that supplied a lot of the whiskey, gin and rum that kept New York City (and the rest of North America) lubricated. Then Prohibition arrived and the industry largely dried up, before trickling back to life in the 21st century.

Now, distillers in New York state are toasting a revival 80 years in the making.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Dave Pasick moved back to his family’s farm just north of Utica a few years ago, naming it Szaro Farms, after an old family name.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

The historic F.X. Matt Brewery, maker of the popular Saranac line of beers, is getting more "green" next month. It won't be making green beer on a regular basis, as some brewers do for St. Patrick's Day, but it will flip the switch on a new anaerobic digester.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO

Governor Andrew Cuomo pledged to invest more money into promoting the state’s growing wine, beer, and spirits industries, following a day long special summit at the state Capitol.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced he’s holding a wine and beer summit at the Capitol in October to improve business opportunities for the state’s wineries and craft breweries.

Ardyiii / Flickr

Beer is big business in New York state. The industry, which already has a major impact on the state's economy, expects to grow even further.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Nick Matt ducks into side doors and up staircases while rattling off the history of the F.X. Matt Brewery in Utica.

The brew house is like a second home to Matt because it was his grandfather, F.X., who first opened the brewery 124 years ago.

If you're racking your brain to see if you've ever heard of F.X. Matt Brewery, try this: they make Saranac ales and lagers. For the older generations, does Utica Club ring a bell?

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Five big new tanks have arrived at the F.X. Matt Brewing Company in Utica. But they won't be used to make the brewery's signature Saranac brand craft beer.

Instead, the tanks will act as anaerobic digesters for the brewery's wastewater.

Special bacteria will munch on the yeast and grains left floating around. The process will get the water about 85 percent cleaner before it's discharged into the sewer system, according to CEO Nick Matt.

But the digestion process also gives off methane gas and carbon dioxide.

That methane will be used to power a generator. CEO Matt says the new system will cover up to 40 percent of the brewery's electricity needs.