Grunauer, an Austrian restaurant in the Crossroads Arts District, has one of the best beer gardens in the country, according to Food Wine magazine. And Draft magazine named The Foundry, in Westport, to its list of Americas 100 Best Beer Bars.
Kansas Citys hometown brewer, Boulevard, recently doubled its weekly tours to keep up with demand. A new brewery is in the works for North Kansas City, and several local restaurants including Julian in Brookside, Green Room Burgers Beer in Westport, Pachamamas in Lawrence and Minskys Pizza in Kansas City have been experimenting with their own brews.
In Kansas City, beer isnt just a beverage its a culture.
A year ago, if you wanted to tour Kansas Citys hometown brewery, you had to make a reservation up to three months in advance.
Not anymore: Recently Boulevard Brewing Co. doubled its number of weekly tours, from about 17 to 35 per week. The brewery, located at 2501 Southwest Blvd., also did away with reservations on most days.
The only exception is on Saturdays, because theyre so popular, says guest relations manager Amber Ayres.
The change makes it easier for local and visiting beer lovers to get in to the brewerys free 45-minute tours, which provide an up-close look at the brew kettles and bottling lines that produce Unfiltered Wheat and other Boulevard beers. The tour concludes with 30 minutes in the tasting room, where visitors can sample popular Boulevard beers as well as experimental brews.
If you want an even closer look, book an Unfiltered Tour, a smaller and longer tour that includes stops in the intensely aromatic hops cooler and on the rooftop, which has a pretty incredible view of downtown Kansas City. Tickets to Boulevards Unfiltered Tours cost $20 each and become available at 10 a.m. the first Monday of every month. Because Boulevard only offers the Unfiltered Tours on Saturdays and Sundays, they book up fast, Ayres says. Were talking minutes.
If youre looking to cover more ground, consider airing up your bike tires and buying tickets for the third annual Tour de Brew, a rolling tour of Kansas Citys rich beer-brewing history organized by BikeWalkKC.
The May 19 event begins and ends at Knuckleheads Saloon, 2715 Rochester in the East Bottoms. There are three courses to choose from: The 15-mile Lager, the 33-mile IPA and the 63-mile Dunkel. The shorter race rolls by Boulevard Brewing Co. and dips into the West Bottoms. The longest race goes all the way to Martin City Brewing Co. in south Kansas City.
Sarah Shipley, who co-founded Tour de Brew with Laurie Chipman and Ron Puett, says the event is like a scavenger hunt through history. Each rider gets a course map marked with rest stops and historical points of interest, such as the original site of the George Muehlebach Brewing Co and the current site of Boulevard. Some of the rest stops offer cyclists brewer talks and free samples of beer.
We like to save most of the beer sampling for the end for safety reasons, Shipley says. Riders also are encouraged to wear helmets and use hand signals when turning. The heavily marked courses will have marshals on hand to guide traffic.
After the ride, theres a bash at Knuckleheads, with beer, food trucks and vendors offering everything from massages to T-shirts and bike gear.
Tickets to Tour de Brew, which Shipley expects to attract around 1,200 cyclists this year, cost $50 in advance or $60 the day of the event and include a T-shirt, food and (of course) two free beers.
Beer and biking, Shipley says, is like Mom and apple pie. It just goes hand and hand.
For more information, go to tourdebrewkc.com.
This month, Waldo celebrates American Craft Beer Week (May 13-19) with the annual HopFest Craft Beer Festival. The May 18 event at The Well and Lews Grill Bar features beer from more than 50 breweries, food trucks, live music and a competition for home brewers. Professional brewers from Boulevard, Free State, Samuel Adams and other breweries will be on hand to taste and talk beer.
Tickets cost $35, or $55 if you want VIP access, which gets you early admittance and tastes of special release beers. For more info, check out The Wells website, waldowell.com.
Beer festivals are becoming increasingly popular across the region. In April, more than 3,000 people poured into downtown Parkville for the 10th annual Parkville Microbrew Fest. And In March, downtown Lawrence hosted its second annual Kansas Craft Beer Expo. Tickets to that event, which featured beer from 29 brewers, sold out in less than three hours. The organizers are already looking for ways to expand next years Expo.
The beer selection at Flying Saucer Draught Emporium, 101 E. 13th St. in the Power Light District, is borderline absurd.
The Texas-based chains Kansas City location has 76 brews on tap and hundreds more in bottles. Regular customers, known as Beerknurds, are inducted into the Ring of Honor after downing their 200th pint.
Every Thursday at 7 p.m., the Flying Saucers bartenders tap into a limited edition beer and pour it til its gone. Last week, the rare brew was Winter Warmer, an English strong ale brewed with Belgian candy sugar by Wild Onion Brewing Co. in Barrington, Ill.
If you live up north or out south, mark your calendar for every First Friday thats when Mothers Brewing Co. from Springfield taps firkins of its beer at Rusty Horse Tavern, 6325 Lewis St. in Parkville, and Lews Grill Bar, 7539 Wornall Road in Waldo.
Mothers marketing director Jeremy Wicks says the firkins 10.8-gallon casks of beer are often spiked with crazy ingredients, such as bacon, pomegranate or kumquat. So the flavor of the beer is vastly different than anything youll try in a bottle.
Craft beer can be intimidating. Dont know the difference between an English and India Pale Ale? Dont sweat it lots of local bars offer tastings and employ enthusiastic bartenders who are more than willing to help you find your new favorite brew.
At Bier Station, a new beer bar in Waldo, owner John Couture has hired a staff of beer enthusiasts not to be confused with beer snobs who allow customers to taste samples of beers before committing to a pint. Brad Isch, who curates Bier Stations extensive selection, is full of helpful information. Did you know Goose Islands Sofie beer is aged in white wine barrels, or what American lagers tasted like before Prohibition? You will after tasting a few brews with Isch.
The best part: Bier Station sells beer to go, in big bottles or six-packs, so if you find a beer you love, you wont have to make an extra trip to the liquor store.
The tasting bar concept is coming soon to North Kansas City: Big Rip Brewing Co. is scheduled to open at 216 E. Ninth Ave. later this month. The microbrewery is a joint venture between friends Josh Collins and Kipp Feldt, a longtime homebrewer.
Collins says Big Rip will make beers for nerds and casual beer drinkers. He and Feldt are working on brewing batches of Banana Cream Ale, Cherry Hefeweizen, and a gluten-free beer. Theyre also building a beer garden and a 50-seat taproom where customers can taste the freshest Big Rip brews.
Beer-loving cyclists take note: Big Rip is located off a bike trail that connects to the River Market.
The Zagat-rated Austrian restaurant, at 101 W. 22nd St. in the Freight House, has a south-facing patio with beautiful scenery. Imagine lush potted plants and chic wooden tables with a clear view of Union Station. A slatted pergola filters sunlight, and the menu overflows with Austrian and German beer, warm pretzels and an assortment of sausages.
About a mile away, leafy vines lend shade to the secluded beer garden at The Westside Local, 1663 Summit St. on Kansas Citys Westside, where locally brewed beer accompanies cheese and charcuterie plates.
Further south, a wall of bamboo secludes the drinking patio at Haus, 3044 Gillham Road, where you can wash down poutine and handmade sausages from Local Pig with a wide assortment of European beer. Big windows and rows of wooden picnic tables (inside and out) give the bar the communal feeling of a beer garden, even when its too rainy to sit on the patio.
Bier Stations upstairs beer garden has sliding glass doors that roll up on warm days. Covering one wall is a black-and-white photo of Heim Brewing Co.s bustling beer garden in the East Bottoms area. The photo dates back to around 1900, and depicts a crowd of nattily dressed men and women socializing over beer on a sunny patio.
Owner John Couture wants to replicate that simpler time. So there are no TVs in his beer garden. Just good beer and people who bond over it.
The owners of Triangle Brewing Co., a production brewery in Durham that makes beer to sell in grocery stores, restaurants and at other venues, are planning to move the brewery to a location where they could open a taproom.
Rick Tufts, 39, and Andy Miller, 40, launched the brewery in 2007. The two first met in high school and became business partners. They lease 10,000 square feet of former warehouse space on Pearl Street for the brewery, Tufts said, and plan to buy a 22,000-square foot-building nearby at 812 Mallard St.
They have the building under contract, Tufts said, and are looking to close on the purchase this month. They plan to buy new equipment to increase their production capacity by four times. Tufts said they’d be able to brew up to 8,000 barrels a year.
They plan to decommission their Pearl Street operation and to sell most of their equipment. They hope to be brewing beer in the new location by the fall, and to have the taproom open about a month later.
“It gives us the opportunity to grow and double in size, and it’s going to allow us to have a taproom, and to continue to excel at what we do, which is making beer,” Tufts said of the plan.
As a production brewery, Triangle Brewing Co. doesn’t have a taproom on location, Tufts said. They do hold tours on Saturdays, however.
“We get well over 100 people on some weekends, and we’re still in the misunderstood part of Durham,” he said. “We just wanted to make beer and make quality beer, and the need for the taproom has developed itself,” he added.
In the brewery’s first year, it produced 150 barrels of beer, Tufts said. This year, they plan on producing more than 4,000 barrels.
Their beer is sold in grocery stores and by independent stores. They’ve started selling in Greensboro, Winston-Salem and Wilmington.
They can their beer in Durham, Tufts said. They use cans because that increases the beer’s shelf-life, he said, and caters to people who are “on the go.”
“Here in North Carolina, which is a great state, we’ve got the ocean, and we’ve got the mountains,” Tufts said. “You can’t take glassware to the beach, you can’t take it hiking very easily; you can’t take it to the pool. So we make beer for people on the go…”
Tufts said he went into the beer brewing business when he needed a change. He’s a developmental psychologist by training who worked for several years with the TEACCH Autism Program at UNC Hospitals.
He said his business partner, Miller, studied hotel restaurant and institutional management at East Carolina University in Greenville, and had restaurant experience.
“I loved working with families, the only issue was that every family I dealt with, I was dealing with them at a very sad moment,” Tufts said. “I was trying to help them above that, and it became emotionally draining.”
He said he went to brewing school at the American Brewers Guild in Vermont, and worked as an apprentice at Flying Fish Brewing Co. in New Jersey. He said he saw beer production as a means to bring people pleasure.
“I would do that again in a heartbeat…but to be able to make something that other people could enjoy on a social level, as opposed to … dealing with people at their most vulnerable moments – it was time for me to change,” he said.
Tufts said they see the planned investment as part of the development of Durham. Their targeted location is empty, but previously housed a feed mill for Southern States, an agricultural products supplier, said Al Frega, an officer in the company that owns the building.
“We’re not in the best location, but Durham is changing significantly, and renovations and downtown revitalization is coming our direction, and we’ve made an investment to be in this part of Durham,” Tufts said.
Fifty West Brewing Co. is expanding its brewing capacity, my colleague Bowdeya Tweh reports:
Fifty West Brewing Co. in Columbia Township plans to double its beer brewing capacity to support demand after opening nearly five months ago.
Bobby Slattery, one of the three partners in the business, said the company is in the process of ordering tanks and expects the equipment to be installed and the larger capacity to be in place by late summer.
Slattery estimated the breweryâ€™s production capacity could rise to about 1,000 barrels a year from its current level, which is about 500 barrels a year. He said itâ€™s a good situation to be in to have people supporting the products.
â€œItâ€™s not an issue of being able to find people that like your beer, itâ€™s about being able to make enough beer to keep up with demand,â€� Slattery said.
Blake Horsburgh and Whit Hesser are Slatteryâ€™s partners in the brewery.
The establishment opened Nov. 27 and opened its kitchen less than two months ago.
Initially, the brewery had as many as 46 outside distribution accounts, but eventually demand outpaced the production capacity and the partners decided to end shipments to external customers, Slattery said.
With the expansion, he said the brewery could resume limited self-distribution to bars.
For now, the establishment will retain its operations schedule of being open Thursday through Sunday.
TORONTO, Feb. 27, 2013 /CNW/ – Award winning Cool Brewery is set to
launch a unique self tapping “mini” keg for the take home market.
Cool’s 3.1 litre mini keg will pour an equivalent of nine regular
bottles of beer and is equipped with an easy to carry handle.
“Cool brewery is the first to market a unique 3.1 litre mini keg” said
Andrew Costa, Marketing Manger for Cool Brewery. “We discovered there
was market demand for a mini keg if the keg cost less than twenty
dollars and if they can fit easily in the fridge at home.”
The mini keg will pour Cool’s award winning Craft Lager which will be
available at all self serve Beer Stores and select LCBO outlets in
southern Ontario. Cool designed their web site www.coolbeer.com to help beer drinkers locate LCBO and Beer stores carrying Cool beers
and to offer home delivery service.
“There are 5 litre take home kegs in the market but beer drinkers
complain they take too long to chill, didn’t fit in the fridge and the
beer style is too European, too heavy,” said Costa. “Our Cool mini keg
addresses all these issues and our Cool Craft Lager is not only award
winning but easy to drink, refreshing and affordable” he concluded.
Cool Beer Brewing Co. Incorporated is a regional brewery founded by
Bobby Crecouzos in 1997. Cool initially focused on selling draught
beer to the restaurant trade but expanded to serve LCBO and Beer Stores
by introducing unique packages, such as 4 beers for 5 Bucks and a 275
mL clear bottle of Stonewall Light. Cool’s mission is to brew award
winning, high quality, affordable, refreshing beers for the everyday
beer drinker. Cool’s Millennium “Buzz” beer is the only all natural
Hemp Beer in Canada. Visit Cool at www.coolbeer.com
Image with caption: “Cool mini keg: easy to handle, chills quickly, fits in fridge, holds 9 beers and sells for less than $20.00 (CNW Group/Cool Beer Brewing Co.)”. Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130227_C8689_PHOTO_EN_24083.jpg
SOURCE: Cool Beer Brewing Co.
For further information:
Marketing Manager, Cool Brewery
Phone (416) 255-7100 (ext 255)
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
FARGO — Fargo Beer Co. has secured a new home in the city that bears its name.
Aaron Hill, who is one of three owners of the beer brewing company, said a deal was completed Thursday on the company’s new home at 610 N. University Drive.
“Our landlord cut the floor drains yesterday, and will continue with flooring, painting, etc., throughout the month,” Hill said in an email.
The lease will officially begin March 10, he said.
Previous tenants of the building were Great Plains Plastic Molding and Rehab Systems, Hill said.
Hill owns Fargo Beer Co. with partners Chris Anderson, Jared Hardy and John Anderson. They started selling their product in the metro area in 2011.
The beer is now brewed at Sand Creek Brewery in Black River Falls, Wis.,
In hopes of securing a Fargo brewing location, the owners began pursuing a special license from the city last year.
Granite City and Rhombus Guys were the only other businesses that operated microbreweries in Fargo under a type of license that is only available in connection with a restaurant license.
The Fargo City Commission accepted and filed an ordinance on Dec. 10 that would establish a new kind of brewing license. The class “Y” brewing license was approved on Jan. 7.
Fargo Beer will be the first brewery to receive the license.
Fargo Beer Co. hopes to change its name to Fargo Brewery by the summer, Hill said.
Although the company‘s legal entity name is Fargo Brewing Co. LLC, Hill said they will continue to do business as Fargo Beer Co. for now.
“The federal government does not allow us to do business with a name that includes “Brew,” “Brewing,” or “Brewery” until we actually brew the beer ourselves,” Hill said.
There is one other commercial brewery operating in North Dakota. Edwinton Brewing Co. opened in Bismarck last October.
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Some of our annual rituals defy reinvention or even a modicum of updating. Take the Super Bowl. You know that at countless house parties across this vast, gridiron-crazed republic, you will find the same sacred offerings:
•Store-bought, over-whipped guacamole that looks like green mayonnaise.
•Buffalo chicken wings so spicy they could start a fire if dropped under the couch.
Seven-layer dip, at least three of which can’t be identified by anyone in the room.
•The most boring and tasteless mass-produced beer made in America.
I wouldn’t dare try to change our nation’s game-day culinary tastes. But I suspect there are more than a few of us who, though we’re not cravat-wearing craft beer snobs, wouldn’t mind drinking a better-than-average brew for the occasion – something that tastes like more than … well, fill in your own rude descriptor.
Here’s a list of beers that I and members of my stein-clinking fraternity have tried and recommend. I picked American beers with an emphasis on our fair state. They’re not as cheap your usual Super Bowl brews. But I’d rather drink less and enjoy it more, wouldn’t you?
All prices are for a six-pack of 12-ounce bottles.
Abita Brewing Co., Covington, La.
Amber is a Munich-style lager, which means it’s medium dark with lots of malt, smoothness and a hint of caramel. I love its deep amber color. Fans say it’s a good food beer, too, though I like it fine by itself. Amber Lager has topped several New Orleans reader polls and is a popular cooking ingredient with Louisiana chefs. 4.5 percent alcohol by volume.
Avery Out of Bounds Stout
Avery Brewing Co.,
So this one is a little heavy for Super Bowl quaffing, but it’s highly rated, and besides I couldn’t resist the football-themed name. It’s very malty, medium bodied, with a distinct coffee aftertaste. They use a lot of roasted barley and a mountain of hops, which makes it almost a meal in itself. One bottle of this to wash down a few chicken wings and you’re good until halftime. 6.3 percent ABV.
Indian Wells Amnesia IPA
Indian Wells Brewing Co.,
This beer carries an interesting history. It was named for the beer shipped to the British army in India. The high hop content acted as a natural preservative during the long trip east from Blighty. But unlike many microbreweries’ versions of India Pale Ale, this one isn’t overwhelmed by bitterness. You can taste and smell the hops – they use four kinds. 7.2 percent ABV.
North Coast Acme Pale Ale
North Coast Brewing,
I love this beer maker, which opened in 1988 as a local brewpub in Fort Bragg on the Mendocino coast. Its pale ale is moderately malty but finishes cleanly. For the geeks: It uses Yakima Valley hops, American two-row malt and British specialty malts for depth. 5.0 percent ABV.
Stone Brewing Pale Ale
Stone Brewing Co.,
Stone Pale Ale, the flagship brew of this impressive San Diego County bbeer maker is described as an American take on the classic British pale ale. It’s deep amber in color, big in flavor, and nicely balances a hop nose with a malty body. An excellent beer to accompany hearty winter meals, or those heavy Super Bowl appetizers. 5.4 percent ABV.
Victory Prima Pils ($8.99)
Victory Brewing Co.,
A big dollop of hops gives this beer, modeled after a traditional European Pilsner, a distinctly flowery and herbal nose that counterbalances the smooth, almost unctuous malty flavor. It’s easy to drink a lot of this one, but at 5.5 percent ABV it packs more punch than a Bud Light.
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GRAND RAPIDS, MI — A pillar in the beer ranking world has begun rolling out several lists of top performers in the craft beer industry for 2013, and some familiar Beer City USA names from West Michigan are getting top honors.
HopCat, Siciliano’s Specialty Market and Founders Brewing Co. in Grand Rapids each landed at the top of initial 2013 lists released by RateBeer.com, which annually ranks the best beer, breweries and retailers in the worldwide craft beer industry.
Siciliano’s Market and HopCat, each a mecca of sorts for craft beer drinkers, were among the six United States companies landing on the list of best beer retailers worldwide.
HopCat was named the best brewbup in the United States, and Siciliano’s was named the best beer grocer in the U.S. by the website, which uses the Bayesian estimate formula to calculate ratings.
Founders Brewing Co. was named the best brewer in Michigan and the company’s popular Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS) was named best beer in the state on the top beer and brewers by sub-region list.
RateBeer will release additional 2013 lists throughout next week, ranking beer and breweries in different categories leading up to Feb. 1, when they release the list of best brewers in the world.
“That’s the one we hang our hats on,” said Sarah Aldrich, communications manager at Founders. “The past two years, they have rated us as the second best brewery on the world.”
For HopCat, it’s also another in a line of accolades racked up since owner Mark Sellers opened the popular brewpub in early 2008.
“It’s nice to finally get to number one,” said Sellers. HopCat has been named No. 3 best beer bar in the world by Beer Advocate — the other pillar of craft beer ranking — multiple times. CraftBeer.com named HopCat the 2nd best craft beer bar in the United States in September and Draft Magazine already added the bar to their list of best beer bars this year.
“We have an advantage because we’re in Michigan,” said Sellers. “We get these great beers that other states don’t have access to. Other states don’t get the Shorts, Dark Horse and other great beers we have here.”
Siciliano’s has made RateBeer’s best retailer list before, but never ranked as tops overall in the United States.
“It’s a wonderful accolade,” said owner Stephen Siciliano. “People are obviously recognizing us.”
The market, located at Lake Michigan Drive and Collindale Ave NW, is a destination stop for area home brewers and past market employees have gone on to great success as head brewers at places like Brewery Vivant and Founders.
The market holds a highly-regarded home brewing competition every year, the Siciliano’s Cup, and is working on holding a special public brewing event downtown this spring in conjunction with the American Homebrewers Association Big Brew Day on May 4.
The market, which recently expanded its footprint, has seen a growth in business in 2012 — a huge year for Grand Rapids beer with the city being named “Beer City USA” and numerous breweries opening up in the area.
“We sold so many home brew kits over Christmas,” Sicililano said. “We always do, but it just seems that everybody wants to brew right now.”
“We’re feeding off the breweries and the breweries are feeding off the home brewers,” he said. “It’s a nice synergy.”
Email Garret Ellison or follow him on Twitter.
The story of Armadillo Ale Works begins with a happenstance meeting between Bobby Mullins, his ex-girlfriend’s dog, and an armadillo.
We’re sitting inside Deep Ellum Brewing Company in roundtable fashion, and a very reluctant Mullins is hesitant to answer my question, “Why Armadillo?” He’s trying to change the topic. For the past ten minutes, he and his partner, Yianni Arestis, have been telling me about their big dreams of opening the first craft brewery in Denton. It’s going to be called Armadillo Ale Works. In the last couple of years, Arestis and Mullins have been selling artisan sodas, and now they’re putting that on hold so they can focus all their efforts on beer.
Here’s where our beloved DEBC comes in. Enter John Reardon (owner) and Tait Lifto (brand and sales ninja) of Deep Ellum’s craft brewery. They’re two really cool, chill guys. One day, they’re hanging out at this event for brewers called Brews Cruise before the North Texas Beer Festival, and the next day, they’ve taken a liking to the Armadillo boys. “These guys are in it for the right reasons,” says Reardon. He can practically see their honest beer hearts poking through their shirts. The DEBC team decides to adopt the Armadillo men, and thus, a symbiotic friendlationship is born.
Ever since then, Reardon and Lifto have been teaching Mullins and Arestis how to brew beer, how to run a business, and everything about the beer world from the ground up.
“I’ve never heard of [this relationship] being done before. It’s this whole synergy and bringing things together,” says Reardon.
It’s true. You’d think that the DEBC boys would say ‘hell, naw’ to helping their future competition out, but they just don’t see it that way. They’re brewery brothers. They’re little guys against the “big guys.” (“Big guys” referring to non-local, massive beer companies like Budweiser.)
Armadillo Ale Works will be brewing their stouts at DEBC, and DEBC will help with the whole distribution process. Before this summer, Armadillo Ale Works will be releasing its Greenbelt Farmhouse Ale (a wheat beer made with grapefruit peel and coriander) and Quakertown Stout (oats, brown malt).
But back to the armadillo story. Mullins is trying, but I cannot be persuaded to change the topic. I ask Mullins if he’s ever had a weird encounter with an armadillo. He laughs nervously. ”Yes, several, actually.”
“Can you tell me some of them?”
“Are they going to be included in the story?”
“Yes, they will be.”
“Okay, no. No. They’re all irrelevant.”
“Irrelevant is good!”
“When I was in college, the girl I was dating… one of her dogs attacked an armadillo, so I had to go and save it.”
Well, there you have it, folks. Mullins pried the armadillo out of the dog’s jaws and saved it. (It had to be put down later, but that’s irrelevant, right?) I’m rather impressed. If the Armadillo guys can save armadillos, I’m pretty sure they’ll brew great beer. Great logic, I know.
If you really want to, you can see Bobby Mullins lying through his teeth in this DEBC video at the 3:27 mark, right after Tait Lifto asks him if he has any interesting stories with armadillos. Note to self: Don’t play mafia with Mullins. What a terrible liar.
Idaho is known for its potatoes and Florida for its oranges. What about the Mohawk Valley?
That’s just it – the area has become a jack-of-all-trades with industry. From beer to apples to yogurt, the area has produced businesses that play a large part in New York’s growing industries.
The Mohawk Valley can support industries that have steeped themselves into local culture, as well as recently seeded companies coming to full bloom, said Ray Durso Jr., executive director of The Genesis Group.
“I think we’re in a really unique situation,” he said. “We have history and tradition in the Mohawk Valley, but we’re also on the cutting edge of industry.”
Here’s what the region in renowned for:
Beer brewing has long roots in the area’s soil. Literally.
For centuries, the Mohawk Valley was teeming with hops, a big flavor agent in making beer, until about the 20th century, said Larry Bennett, director of public relations and creative services for Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown.
“At one time, brewing in our area was central to the U.S. because of the hops that were here,” he said. “With prohibition, it died off, but it came back.”
It came back, and then some, especially in the last decade, said David Katleski, president of the New York State Brewers Association. Beer has become a multi-million dollar industry for the state.
Ten years ago, there were about 30 breweries in the state, he said. Now, that number has grown to more than 140 – 91 of them licensed manufacturing facilities, he said – many of them producing at full capacity.
“I’m pretty confident in saying every single one, they can’t brew anymore beer,” Katleski said.
The F.X. Matt Brewing Co. in Utica produced about 330,000 barrels of beer this year, and about two-thirds of the people giving Saranac business live in the state, said Meghan Fraser, the brewery’s marketing and public relations coordinator.
Steve Cronk planted apple trees in his side yard as a hobby about 11 years ago – something with which to start a retirement fund.
Now his business, Split Rail Apple Farm in Oneida, has come to fruition.
Cronk said it took little effort to produce his average 60 bushels of apples, something he attributes specifically to the Mohawk Valley, or at least its soil.
“The soil is all farmland here, and the trees grow beautifully with no fertilization, no need to water,” he said. “I think it’s an ideal area for growing.”
New York is the second-largest apple producing state in the country, behind Washington. In 2011, New York produced 1.22 billion pounds of fresh apples and apple products, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s August Fruit Report. The crop from 2010 was worth $227 million.
But not every year is that fruitful. Abnormal weather decimated the state’s crop this year, said Molly Golden, marketing director for the New York State Apple Association.
For a state that usually puts out 29 million bushels of apples, nearly half of this year’s crop was lost to the bad weather, Golden said.
“Due to the weather, this year has really been a challenge,” she said.
Thinking about paper making, one usually imagines reams of printer paper.
But for Burrows Paper Corp. in Little Falls, their business goes way beyond the traditional 8 x 11 white stock.
Between the two Little Falls locations, more than 40,000 tons of specialty papers are produced in a year, from tissue paper and crepe streamers, to coffee filters and moist towelettes, according to a 2011 profile on the company in Pulp Paper International.
The area’s logging industry and sawmills became the perfect background for Burrows Paper in 1919 when it opened its Little Falls corporate location.
Today, the locally-born company has nine locations internationally, from paper mills in the U.S. (two of them in Little Falls) to a packaging plant in The Netherlands and, in the most recent expansion, a representative office in Shanghai.
Though Burrows currently sources the wood pulp that makes up is product worldwide, it used to have a pulp mill in the area, but it closed in 2005, according to the article. A representative from Burrows was not available for comment.
The forest product industry, including paper products, is a big moneymaker for the state. The industry contributes $8.8 billion to the state’s gross product, according to the Empire State Forest Products Association.
Burrows received $550,000 for upgrades through a grant from the state, awarded in December.
Whether plain, fruit on the bottom or flavored, area dairy plants producing Greek yogurt have helped Central New York become a powerhouse in the industry.
The power behind the plants?
New York is the third-largest milk producing state in the country, said Bruce Krupke, executive vice president of the Northeast Dairy Foods Association Inc., based in Syracuse. The state is backed by 1.4 million dairy cattle. Without the milk, there would be no yogurt, he said.
“You’re not going to find a coal mine in Utica if there’s no coal there,” Krupke said.
Two major Greek yogurt plants – Chobani brand produced by Chenango County’s Agro Farma Inc. and Fage USA based in Johnstown – use many local dairy farms to supply the foundation of their yogurts. For example, Finndale Farms in Holland Patent sends milk to Fage.
The two producers are growing as well to keep up with buyers’ demands for Greek yogurt, Krupke said.
Chobani’s South Edmeston plant, which employs more than 1,400 people, is the largest dairy processing plant in the state, according to a statement provided by Kelly LaCorte, corporate communication coordinator for Agro Farma. It recently opened a second yogurt production plant — the world’s largest – in Twin Falls, Idaho.
Fage opened in 2008 as a 220,000-square-foot facility and is planning on breaking ground for a $100 million, 180,000-square-foot expansion next year. The developments will double the plant’s production.
With numerous craft fairs and farmers markets in the area, it’s not hard to see that the people of the Mohawk Valley can make beautiful things with their hands.
One company, Harden Furniture in McConnellsville, takes advantage of local resources, right down to the raw lumber, to craft furniture that has been described as “functional art.”
The Harden family started the company 168 years ago, and has been family owned and operated since. Current CEO Greg Harden keeps up the family tradition and even lives in his grandmother’s former home.
The raw resources are a big pull for Harden Furniture to be in the area, Hall said. Central New York woodlands supply black cherry and maple for the furniture and the pieces are processed through the company’s own sawmill in Fish Creek.
Though well established already, the company is modernizing. A $600,000 grant from the state awarded this month allowed the company to invest in computerized numerical controlled equipment to make the furniture crafting more efficient, said Harden.
“There’s a certain resonance to our story … the southern Adirondacks has great character,” he said. “We put (Harden Furniture) in a place like the Mohawk Valley. Not in an industrial park.
“There’s a certain Norman Rockwell feeling that comes with it.”
Blue Moon Brewing Co.The Sandlot, a microbrewery inside Coors Field, is where Blue Moon was conceptualized.In 1995, Keith Villa had just returned from the University of Brussels having earned his doctorate in beer brewing, when he began working on a Belgian beer that would become Blue Moon.
Blue Moon’s story is pretty well documented. Funded by MillerCoors, it’s now the 18th-largest beer brand in the U.S., according to Beer Marketer’s Insights.
Popularized by the famous orange, which Villa convinced bartenders to carry, you can find Blue Moon — and a slice of citrus — just about anywhere in the country.
What many don’t know is that Blue Moon was conceptualized at the Sandlot, a microbrewery located inside Coors Field that has served as the developmental ground for the entire Blue Moon label operation.
Come up with a concept. Make the beer. Bring it to Rockies fans and see the reaction.
Courtesy of Blue Moon Brewing Co.Vintage Impulse, a beer/wine hybrid, was tested to Rockies fans at Coors Field.It sold out.
Full disclosure: I know this because I loved the combination so much I purchased a case, but I could tell the supply was dwindling.
“In 1995 and 1996, it was before its time,” Villa said. “Sixteen years later, people’s tastes have evolved.”
Now, the Blue Moon Company is bringing the beer/wine hybrid out of the ballpark to produce for the masses.
A half-beer, half-Sauvignon Blanc bottle called Proximity and a half-beer, half-Cabernet Sauvignon bottle called Impulse will hit shelves as soon as this week. Vintage Blonde Ale will be renamed Golden Knot and be produced with another beer/wine hybrid in the summer.
It won’t be as limited as the test market, but Villa says it’s limited to the amount of grapes he can find.
“We can’t get any grapes from Napa and Sonoma since they’re all reserved,” Villa said. “So we get as many grapes as we can from the central coast of California.”
Complicating matters is the fact Blue Moon products are actually kosher. That means only Jewish people can run the vineyard operation and a rabbi must certify the grapes as kosher for use by the brewer.
Villa, who makes his own wine at home, thinks that the beer/wine hybrid could be the next big thing. With the 750 ml bottles in the wine section of liquor stores, it might require some buzz for that to happen.
That’s something that Villa knows a bit about from the rise of Blue Moon.
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