March 17, 2017
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces $185,000 in Grants Awarded to Livingston County to Pave the way for New Craft Beverage Trail

TOP Governor Cuomo Announces $185,000 in Grants...

County Picks Winners of Brew In Livingston Business Plan, Establishes Livingston County Brewing Initiative Microenterprise Program

Investment Part of "Finger Lakes Forward" – Region's Successful Upstate Revitalization Initiative to Grow the Economy and Create New Opportunities


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $185,000 has been awarded to Livingston County for the development of a new craft beverage trail. Funding was awarded by New York State through the Finger Lakes Economic Development Council and the region's Finger Lakes Forward economic development initiative, which is driving revitalization efforts throughout the region. The funds will help establish a Brewing Microenterprise Program, beginning with four local businesses that will create 16 full time jobs and leverage $400,000 in additional resources from across the region.

"By cutting red tape, lowering costs, and providing more opportunities for businesses to grow, New York has helped foster a booming craft beverage industry that is creating jobs, boosting tourism and supporting our local farms, along with producing some of the world's best beer, wine, cider and spirits," Governor Cuomo said. "Our investments continue to spur economic development in communities across the state, and with the creation of a new craft beverage trail, the Finger Lakes will attract even more visitors to experience all that the region has to offer."

Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York is now home to nearly 1,000 licensed wineries, breweries, distilleries, and cideries. The number of farm wineries in New York has increased by more than 65 percent, from 195 in 2010 to 322 today. The number of farm distilleries grew from just 10 in 2010 to 110 today, while micro-breweries have increased four-fold, from 40 to 163. New York is also home to 150 farm breweries and 28 farm cideries, new licenses created in 2013 and 2014 respectively.

"Governor Cuomo has made it a top priority to grow New York State's craft beverage industry by making it easier than ever for breweries and wineries to sell and promote their products," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who attended the award ceremony. "The Brew IN Livingston competition awards entrepreneurs who are investing in making the Finger Lakes Beer Trail a destination. Because of common sense reforms under the Governor's administration, New York State's craft beverage industry is thriving, regardless of the region. I am looking forward to visiting the Finger Lakes Beer Trail soon."

Seventy-five individuals originally expressed interest in the Brew IN Livingston competition through completion of a survey. Ultimately 35 semifinalists were invited to submit video pitches, and 15 finalists went through Business Boot Camp – a five week course focused on formation of a business and the nuances and liabilities associated with owning a brewery.

Four equal prize packages were awarded to three startups and one existing Livingston County business for expansion, including: Battle Street Brewery in Dansville, Mortalis Brewing Company in Avon, Quiet Storm Brewing Company in Geneseo and Original Stump Blower Ciderworks in Lakeville. Each will receive:

  • $35,000 microenterprise grant for furniture, fixtures, and equipment (Community Development Block Grant funding from New York State Homes and Community Renewal);
  • Loan of up to $100,000 at 1 percent through the Livingston County Development Corporation’s Revolving Loan Fund; 

  • One year membership to the New York State Brewers Association; and
  • Complimentary CPA tax assistance from EFPR Group.

Alternate funding sources are being pursued for three additional winners, including: Amber Lantern Brewing Company in Geneseo, Dublin Corners Farm Brewery in York, and Horns & Halos Craft Brewing in Caledonia.

Additionally, all seven winners will receive the following services from local businesses: 

  • Technical and marketing assistance through Livingston County Development, the Livingston County Chamber of Commerce and the Small Business Development Center; 

  • Discounted payroll and administrative services from Complete Payroll;

  • Complimentary headshot session with the purchase of a small business package from Hudson Street Studios;
  • Complimentary award-winning logo design with branding package purchase from Novus Be Known;
  • One trademark clearance search for one mark from Tracy Jong Law Firm; and
  • One-year free subscription from Tracy Jong Law Firm to Boot Legger Journals.

Winners were selected with input from Livingston County Economic Development, the Livingston County Area Chamber of Commerce, the Small Business Development Center, and Business Coaches Jeff and Mike Fitch who facilitated the Business Boot Camp course. A recommendation was ultimately approved by the Board of Directors of the Livingston County Development Corporation.

Senator Catharine Young said, "Craft brewing has quickly become one of the fastest growing industries in our state, generating billions in annual economic revenue. The Legislature has worked in partnership with the Governor to cultivate New York’s craft brewing industry, including expanding opportunities for brewery and cidery licenses and improving marketing outreach. Enacting the 'Brewing IN Livingston' initiative and establishing a Livingston County Brewing Initiative Microenterprise Program will put local entrepreneurs in a position to capitalize on this rapidly growing and expanding market. Congratulations go to Battle Street Brewery, Mortalis Brewing Company, Quiet Storm Brewing Company, and Original Stump Blower Ciderworks, and everyone who provided the local input needed to launch this exciting initiative."

Senator Patrick M. Gallivan said, "New York's investment in these local companies will create jobs and further expand the growing craft beverage industry in the Finger Lakes region. This initiative is part of the ongoing effort to revitalize upstate New York by supporting the creation of new businesses and the expansion of existing ones. Congratulations to all of the award winners."

Livingston County Board of Supervisors Chair Eric Gott said, "This is an exciting day for Livingston County. This is the beginning of a new industry which we had not previously had and it comes from months of hard work by the participants and county staff. Our thanks to New York State and Governor Cuomo for helping us expand craft brewing in the Finger Lakes."

New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "We are happy to have awarded invaluable Community Development Block Grant funds to this innovative initiative in Livingston County. The CDBG program is essential to spurring economic activity across the state. In 2016, the New York State CDBG Program leveraged an additional $307 million in other funds. The program is an important part of Governor Cuomo's Finger Lakes Forward Upstate Revitalization Initiative and we look forward to seeing the continued results."

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, "Since taking office, Governor Cuomo has cut red tape while increasing promotion and support for New York State’s craft beverage industry, and it is resulting in a thriving sector for the Upstate economy. The Livingston County beverage trail is a creative approach to attracting more visitors to the region and will provide a welcome boost for local beverage businesses. Congratulations to the awardees and we look forward to the craft beverage industry's continued growth in the Finger Lakes."

State Liquor Authority Chairman Vincent Bradley said, "Governor Cuomo's commitment to growing New York’s craft manufacturing industry has remained steadfast, from hosting the State’s first ever Wine, Beer and Spirits Summit to today’s announcement establishing Livingston County’s new craft beverage trail.  This administration’s success in modernizing laws and regulations for our craft beverage producers has led to hundreds of new businesses opening over the past six years that are creating jobs, economic development and driving tourism in every corner of the state."

Department of Agriculture & Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "There has never been a better time to make beer, wine, spirits or cider in New York. Thanks to Governor Cuomo's commitment to growing the industry and investment from the state, craft beverage manufacturing is stronger than ever and expanding all the time. As it grows and thrives, we are seeing greater demand for agricultural products, a rise in tourism and revitalization of downtown communities across the state. This project will keep that great momentum going in the Finger Lakes and set the bar for the rest of the State."

Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chairs Wegmans Food Markets CEO Danny Wegman and Monroe Community College President Anne Kress said, "The regions Finger Lakes Forward economic plan is really making a difference. The FLREDC is happy to support the craft brew industry in the region which offers unparalleled products. The burgeoning business is helping to create exciting momentum in the Finger Lakes which is translating to quality jobs and helping the region unleash its future economic potential."

Livingston County Director of Economic Development Bill Bacon said, "We recognize the economic impact of the craft beer and cider industries. This program was designed to improve the likelihood of success of these entrepreneurs and give them a leg up when they start so that they can ultimately attract tourism, create jobs, and generate tax revenue."

Livingston County Deputy Director of Economic Development Maureen Wheeler said, "We were fortunate to receive resources from Governor Cuomo's Finger Lakes Forward initiative and thrilled with the level of dedication and enthusiasm exhibited by each and every one of the competition’s fifteen finalists. In selecting seven winners we’re identifying them as the most ready to go right now, but the work with the other eight by no means ends here. I would not be surprised to see all fifteen of them eventually up and running."

Accelerating Finger Lakes Forward
Today's announcement accelerates "Finger Lakes Forward," the region's blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The state has already invested more than $3.4 billion in the region since 2012 to support its plan – investing in key industries including photonics, agriculture and food production, and advanced manufacturing. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Rochester, Batavia and Canandaigua as a destination to grow and invest in.

Now, the region is accelerating Finger Lakes Forward with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State's $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion – and the region's plan, as submitted, projects up to 8,200 new jobs. More information is available here.

Contact the Governor's Press Office
Contact the Governor's Press Office