By Frank DeLuca HAMILTON, N.Y. (NCC News) – There are 55 breweries in Central New York. When Good Nature Farm Brewery started in 2011, there were about that many in the entire state.
The brewing industry has transformed into a billion-dollar industry in New York, and brewery owners say it has a lot to do with the state facilitating this growth over such a short period of time.
“In 2013 New York State unrolled the Farm Brewery License and what that license allows us to do is gain a few benefits in return from sourcing New York State ingredients like hops, barley that sort of thing,” said Carrie Blackmore, who owns Good Nature Farms Brewery.
The license also allows farm breweries like Blackmore’s to open up tap rooms, where you can serve beer out of the brewery.
“We’re also lucky enough to have some trade organizations that help us lobby for us and help us work with the government,” Willow Rock Brewing Company owner Rockney Roberts said. “The Brewers Association nationally helps with that and then the New York State Brewers Association deals with issues in New York.”
Paul Leone of the NYSBA said most breweries opening now are small and focused on these tap room sales, which gives the breweries more of a community-oriented focus, at least to start.
Roberts equated the levels of breweries to those before the era of Prohibition.
If you look at the city of Syracuse and the surrounding area there’s over 12 breweries here so you can literally, geographically have your neighborhood brewery again,” Roberts said. “That’s only going to continue to grow and keep the industry moving forward.”
Even as the number of breweries grows at such a rapid pace, people are not yet afraid of local breweries posing a threat to one another.
“At this point, since the boom really started 5 years ago, I can only count four that have opened and didn’t make it past a couple of years, and those were for a variety of reasons, none of which had anything to do with over saturation,” Leone said. “Not bad out of a total of 366 breweries.”
“I think we all benefit if there’s a few more of us and we’re all doing good things” Blackmore said. “If we’re making good product we can make a name for New York State beer and specifically Central New York craft beer.”