Food and Beverage Sector Becoming Key Economic Driver

John Jordan | August 2017

Craft brewing is a growing industry in New York State and the Hudson Valley.

Hudson Valley Acquires Taste For Craft Brewing

The food and beverage sector, part of the leisure and hospitality industry, is growing across New York State and particularly in the Hudson Valley region.

The Hudson Valley has its share of movers and shakers in the food and beverage field, such as PepsiCo, Heineken and Danone to name just a few. Other growing local players in this field include: Best Mexican, Gillette Creamery, Harney & Son’s Tea, Sabra Dipping, Satin Fine Foods and Manhattan Beer Distributors. Some other recognizable names that have made investments in the Hudson Valley include Angry Orchard, which began operations in 2015 in Walden, and Amy’s Kitchen, which will soon break ground on its new project in Goshen.

The leisure and hospitality industry added an impressive 37,300 jobs in New York State between June 2016 and June 2017, ranking third behind educational and health services and professional and building services industries. Officials with the Hudson Valley Economic Development Corp. note that the food and beverage sector has created $27 billion in economic impact in New York State and continues to experience consistent growth.

A niche sector in the food and beverage trades that has emerged in recent years is the craft brewing industry. Business such as Newburgh Brewing Co., Captain Lawrence, Yonkers Brewing Equilibrium Brewery, Peekskill Brewery and Clemson Brothers Brewery have all made their marks in their respective areas and some have even marketed their products to discerning palates elsewhere.

The economic benefits of craft brewing businesses have caused some municipalities to amend regulations to allow these establishments in their downtown districts and or industrial areas. These businesses usually require significant investment to convert former industrial or retail space to accommodate its specialized equipment and other needs.

Many of these recently opened breweries/restaurants are helping transform downtowns in the Hudson Valley into destinations that are attractive to the highly sought after Millennial demographic. These establishments are also helping attract multifamily development firms that are now building major projects in cities such as Yonkers, New Rochelle and White Plains that are being marketed to Millennials both inside and outside the Hudson Valley region.

The popularity of craft brewing has not been lost on New York State and Hudson Valley economic development officials.

Recently, New York State conducted the “Taste NY Inaugural Craft Beer Challenge. In May, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that Sullivan County-based Roscoe Beer Co. and Brewery Ommegang of Cooperstown were the winners of the contest.

The two craft brewers won the contest following a blind taste test featuring the five New York State breweries that received the most online votes in the challenge.

Governor Cuomo said, “New York’s craft breweries are not only a source of local pride, but they create jobs and drive tourism in every corner of the state. No state has done more to assist and promote craft manufacturing than New York, because we know that when our businesses succeeds, all of New York succeeds.”

The Taste NY Inaugural Craft Beer Challenge was launched on May 2nd and invited New Yorkers to vote for their favorite New York craft brewery in celebration of the diversity, range, and quality of New York’s craft beer industry. More than 170 breweries signed up to participate, and more than 42,000 votes were cast online.

New York State is now home to 321 microbreweries, farm breweries, and restaurant breweries, up from only 50 total breweries in 2011 and representing a 542% growth in the industry. This growth was fostered through a series of state legislation and economic incentives, including the creation of the Farm Brewery License in 2012, providing tax credits for brewers, modernizing the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Law, and providing promotional funding.

The Hudson Valley Economic Development Corp. has recognized both the food and beverage and craft beer industries as prime areas for growth in the region. In recognition of its importance to the regional economy, HVEDC will hold its fifth Annual Hudson Valley Beer, Wine, Spirits & Cider Summit on Oct. 12 at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park. The event, which will begin at noon, will feature the former co-founder of Brooklyn Brewery and current co-founder and president of Brooklyn-based New York Distilling Company as its keynote speaker, along with a special one-on-two interview with celebrity beverage entrepreneurs, Lynette and Adam Carolla of Carolla Drinks.

HVEDC’s annual Hudson Valley Beer, Wine, Spirits & Cider Summit attracts about 500 attendees. The fifth installment of the popular event will be held on Oct. 12 at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park.

The award-winning summit, developed by HVEDC as part of its Hudson Valley Food & Beverage Alliance, is the largest education event of its kind in New York and has consistently drawn crowds of 500 or more. It is the region’s premier industry forum and networking opportunity for professionals in the alcoholic beverage business. Attendees will experience a wide variety of innovative, interactive programming and enjoy tastings of many regionally produced products.

Potter has created award-winning products such as Dorothy Parker Gin, Ragtime Rye Whiskey and Mr. Katz’s Rock & Rye. Potter serves on the boards of the Brooklyn Roasting Company and Ample Hills Creamery, both of which are based in Brooklyn and are regional leaders in their market segments.

“This is truly a celebration of the incredible, positive impact HVEDC and this special summit has had on the Hudson Valley’s craft beverage industry, which continues seeing tremendous growth,” said Laurence P. Gottlieb, president and CEO of HVEDC. “We are extremely proud to host what has become the must-attend educational event for anyone who is in the industry or considering entering the business. We expect an outstanding turnout yet again, if the trends over the last several years are any indication.”

The event will also feature an historic first for the Summit, as Gottlieb will interview Carolla Drinks CEO Lynette Carolla in the main hall, while her husband (comedian, best-selling author and podcast pioneer) Adam Carolla will Skype-in live from his West Coast-based, state-of-the-art digital broadcast studio.

As the founders of Carolla Drinks, the Carollas also own Carolla Digital, producing many of iTunes’ top podcast programs including The Adam Carolla Show, which distributes nearly 30 million downloads a month. The interview will take place at 4 p.m.

“We anticipate another successful event this year, and encourage people to make plans as soon as possible to come and check it out, because this is a free educational event, but seating is limited,” said Gottlieb.

John Jordan
Editor, Real Estate In-Depth