craft brewing

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Spent grain will once again be allowed to be used as livestock feed in New York state. Sen. Chuck Schumer says the by product of the brewing process had been used for centuries by farmers to feed livestock, until the federal government got involved.

"All of a sudden the FDA, the Food and Drug Administration, came in and said 'you can’t send this spent grain except under certain conditions.' That hurt our craft brewers, say Empire Brewing and F.X.Matt here in central New York," said Schumer. It hurt our farmers getting this grain. Otherwise they’d have to pay to dispose of it.”

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

As New York state continues to boost the craft brewery and distillery business, brews and spirits pushed into the wine court at the New York State Fair.

David Tadros has been collecting brews and spirits from Clayton to Brooklyn to sell at his stand on the edge of the wine court. State Fair Showstopper Ale, a brew concocted only for the run of the fair, by Empire Brewery, is sold here, along with other New York state beers. And for the first time distilled spirits are available outside, opening them up to a bigger audience.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Syracuse's Empire Brewing Company will become one of the top five brewers in New York state, if all goes well with the creation of Farmstead Brewery in Cazenovia. Empire wants everybody to get in on the craft brew party, even people who aren’t craft beer connoisseurs.

The owner of the Empire Brewing Company says he wants to turn more people into beer snobs.

"The longer they are surrounded by craft beer, the more they’ll let their barriers down and try new things," says Empire founder David Katleski.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

The bourbon being produced at a Utica distillery is being described as the first legal bourbon produced in central New York. It's proof that the craft liquor industry is growing in New York state.

The Adirondack Distilling Company started out by crafting vodka. Then they moved to gin and, most recently, white whiskey. Now, master distiller Jordan Karp says the company is moving on to that quintessential American drink.

"Bourbon is an American spirit made with at least 51 percent corn, and stored and aged in a charred, new, oak American barrel,” Karp explained.

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.

Local food craze hits booze market, too

Oct 30, 2013
Joanna Richards

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.

The Daily Refresher

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.

Boutique brands of liquor on the rise in New York

Jul 25, 2013
Eagle Beverage

"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.

Fellowship of the Rich / Flickr

New York state’s craft beer industry received a boost earlier this year when Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that will benefit craft and farm breweries throughout the state.