PUTNAM POSTING: Distillery Project Moves Forward in Carmel

Jennifer Maher | January 2019

It’s official: the Gleneida Distillery NY Inc. project will be a $44-million asset to the Town of Carmel, Putnam County and the Hudson Valley region. After extensive review and a well-attended and thorough public hearings, the Carmel Planning Board approved the project to be built on the former Guideposts grounds.

After construction is completed by the end of 2019, the distillery will provide upwards of 48 good paying, local jobs and additional regional marketing and distribution positions.

The Alexandrion Group, Romania’s largest spirits producer, has a history of good community participation and is looking forward to including the Gleneida operation with a visitor’s education and tasting area built around the original Drew Methodist Seminary dating back to the 1800s. It will fit in well with the entire Hudson Valley Food and Beverage promotion program and numerous tourist trail routes.

According to Putnam County executive MaryEllen Odell, the Putnam County Industrial Development Agency passed a resolution on November 28th, moving forward to assist in the funding piece of “this incredible opportunity the Alexandrion Group has brought to Putnam County. They are confident in the location and look forward to Putnam County being a part of their expanding international business plan which is evident by their $40-million investment in the location. This is very exciting for our county and I am looking forward to the day the doors open for business and job opportunities.”

Other area leaders concur. “I, along with the Carmel community are extremely pleased and excited that the Alexandrion Group has selected the Town of Carmel to establish and operate the company’s first US distillery,” said Carmel Town Supervisor Kenneth Schmitt. It appears that the county is well on its way to being the home of a very exciting and popular new attraction, employer, and most important of all, taxpayer.

Increased Minimum Wage Having Drastic Effect on Putnam Business

Government is crushing business owners. Rather than rewarding hard work and job creation they keep increasing the regulatory burdens facing local businesses. This month the minimum wage for employers with less than 10 employees in Putnam County increases to $11.10, and annual increases will continue until the rate reaches $12.50. Lawmakers have stated their intent to get the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Businesses with more than 11 workers go up immediately, which seems to incentivize businesses to have less than 11 employees!

While everyone should have the ability to feed their family and afford a decent lifestyle, this is not the way. Mandated wage increases cause business owners to make tough decisions such as cutting employee hours or to reduce staff. I have been criticized in the past for taking such a stance on the wage increases but many are speaking out. In Washington, DC the local paper stated that the city council who is mostly democratic is looking to repeal a voter initiative increasing the minimum wage to $15 in the nation’s capital. Seems they are concerned about the economic health of DC. $15 an hour is DOUBLE the federal minimum wage requirement which is $7.25.

When businesses are thriving, they should reward their employees by increasing salaries or with bonuses. However, forced increases not based on the profit, affordability and budget of a business is detrimental to the mom and pop businesses that comprise the heartbeat of our county. In a state with already too many business crushing regulations I am afraid this one will have businesses leaving New York. Business owners reading this—can you afford this increase?

On another note, below is the new name of our organization. We are looking for board members and people interested in taking a leadership role in the business climate and economic development of Putnam County.

Jennifer Maher
Jennifer Maher is chairwoman, the Putnam County Business Council and currently serves as the president of the Putnam/Westchester Chapter of the New York State Commercial Association of Realtors.