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.
The local food trend in the North Country is starting to fill a new niche: alcoholic beverages. And not only are brewers and winemakers crafting their products there, but they're also taking advantage of the rural region to double the local appeal, with homegrown ingredients. Several of these businesses just opened in Jefferson County.
As people increasingly stray from mass-produced products, demand is growing for locally produced food, wine and beer. In upstate New York this trend is spilling over into the field of craft distilleries, and the state is seeing a comeback of the small, artisan liquor operations of the pre-Prohibition era.
From the Adirondacks to the Hudson Valley, and down to New York City, dozens of micro-distilleries are popping up.
In western New York, Jason Barrett is adding another operation to the ranks.
"I had a lot of spare time on my hands, and this was just one of the many crazy ideas you come up with when you're trying to figure out what the heck you're going to do to make some money and make a living."
Two years ago, Brandon Bellinger was working for a now defunct racing team in North Carolina. Today, he's developed and created his own brand of top shelf tequila, called 21 Tequila, which he sells at local bars and liquor stores around Oswego County.