The city’s microbrewing industry has grown in the last decade, bringing more choices at bars and more dollars to the Big Apple’s economy.
There are five independent microbreweries in the city, among the more popular is the Chelsea Brewing Co., which launched in 1996. Two more microbreweries are set to open in the near future, one each in Harlem and Queens. And the breweries alone poured $1.5 billion into the state’s economy in 2010, according to the Beer Institute, a Washington, D.C.- based lobbying group, and the National Beer Wholesalers Association of Alexandria, Va.
“It’s the largest beer consumer market in the world. There is a huge population here, and they have sophisticated palates,” said David Katleski, president of the New York State Brewers Association and owner of Empire Brewery in Williamsburg.
The city breweries, along with the bars and stores that sell their concoctions, gave the city a combined $4.8 billion economic boost in 2010, according to the Beer Institute and National Beer Wholesalers.
When he opened his first Empire Brewery in Syracuse in 1994, Katleski said there were 10 microbreweries in the state, compared to 140 today.
Each new brewery, such as the anticipated return of the Harlem Brewing Co. from upstate to Manhattan next year, brings a large following of fans. “I just want to support New York,” said brewery enthusiast Jeff Rieck, 25, of Woodside.
The city and state governments have noticed the popularity of the breweries and have worked to fuel their growth. During the summer, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo passed several pieces of legislation that gave tax exemptions to breweries.
Rich Buceta, who plans to open Queens’ first major brewery, SingleCut Beersmith, in Astoria next month, said state incentives were needed because maintaining the quality of the beer can be costly. “You need a lot of space with a lot of overhead, and that is a needle that you have to thread,” he said.
The governor announced Thursday that he will host a special conference at the end of the month with the state’s beer and winemakers to discuss ways to promote their product.
Katleski said New York has a lot of untapped potential for its beer industry since only 10 percent of the beer sold in the state is home grown. “The playing field for the beer industry has changed, and we have a lot to offer,” he said.
Copied from 10/1/12 Newsday article by Ivan Pereira
Our own head brewer, Mark Szmaida, accepted J.D. Wetherspoon’s invitation to travel to Titanic Brewery in England to co-brew “Ship of Dreams,” a celebratory beer created in honor of the 100 year anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.
On a Monday morning in mid August two men left NYC to meet two men in NJ to go back in time…….
Chelsea Brewery’s brewers, Chris and Mark, an elderly English man known as Skinner, and Ian Phillips crept up the winding roads through the woods on a quest to harvest as many hops as possible. Our destination for this trip would be the Farmer’s Museum in Cooperstown, NY. The Farmer’s Museum, practices the farming methods and techniques from days of old such as using oxen to plow the fields, and good old fashioned manure to help vegetables grow. They also grow a bounty of hops. Upstate NY used to be the largest producing region for the hop industry in times before prohibition, but a disease called, Downy Mildew damaged the crops so badly many farms shut down. Prohibition was the final nail in the coffin for many small hops farms in NY, because if you’re not putting your hops into beer, there aren’t many other things you can use a huge volume of hops for.
At the farmer’s museum, the hops are grown up vertical saplings. Most of the plants were around 20 feet high, and the number of plants was somewhere around 80. It was a beautiful sight to see a massive green wall of hops.
After the poles were pulled from the ground we brought them to the shade to pick in comfort with the flies and the chickens.
About 14 plants were picked on this Monday afternoon yielding 15Lbs of hops, and with plans to return in early September, more hops harvested will be able to brew about 50 BBls of NYC’s finest ale.
After a long day, Mark and Chris march back to our car, and we our trek back to NYC and back to reality. You can expect to see CBC’s Catskill Fresh Hopped IPA in late September. It is sure to be an amazing beer, with lots of unique flavor, and lots of care and planning into it’s creation. This was an amazing experience that makes you appreciate the history of hop farmers and the simple joys of life.