ESD Announces Star Cider, LLC Joins START-UP NY

Growing Cider Producer’s Expansion Will Create New Jobs While Establishing Research And Education Center With Finger Lakes Community College

Investment Complements “Finger Lakes Forward” – The Region’s Comprehensive Strategy to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy

Empire State Development (ESD) today announced that Star Cider, LLC, has been admitted to the START-UP NY program in the Finger Lakes. The growing company, which produces cider from apples to a packaged product, is partnering with Finger Lakes Community College (FLCC) through START-UP NY and will expand to space on campus. Star Cider plans to invest nearly $300,000 in the new operations and will create at least five new jobs in Ontario County.

“The growth of Star Cider is a testament to the ecosystem for businesses that we’ve created in New York State,” said Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky. “The craft beverage industry is booming, and we look forward to Star Cider’s continued growth in Upstate New York.”

Founded in 2014, Star Cider sources apples and fresh ingredients solely from New York State and currently sells its ciders through restaurants, bars, and markets across New York. What began as a husband and wife’s long-time hobby and tradition of making hard cider every fall transformed into starting a business, evolving from a few gallons to producing over a hundred gallons at home. After extensive experimentation with the fermentation process and working to perfect several blends of hard cider, the company’s founders decided to share their ciders with the world.

Star Cider owner and head cider maker Cortni McGregor Stahl said, “We are very excited to be starting this next chapter and to expand our small, family run business. We have been working tirelessly in hopes of creating a space to share with the community, students, and visitors to the Finger Lakes. We can't wait to partner with FLCC and finally make our vision a reality.”

Star Cider’s new production facility will have a dual purpose as a research and education center, and include interactive tours, lecture series and workshops focusing on apple cider production, from pressing, fermenting, and blending through the finished product. As part of its expansion to space on the FLCC campus, Star Cider will create at least five new jobs and invest $300,000.

As a START-UP NY participant sponsored by FLCC, Star Cider aligns with several of the college’s academic areas, including the Viticulture (and new Viticulture Center), Horticulture, and Biology programs. FLCC’s biotech students will be able to participate in production and quality control, and analytical testing in labs will provide data back to the cidery. Additionally, training, co-ops and internships will be made available to students.

For more information about Star Cider, please visit

New York State’s craft beverage industry has experienced unprecedented growth since Governor Cuomo took office, with new breweries, wineries, distilleries and cideries opening and growing across the state. In 2011, there were only five hard cider producers in New York. Today, there are nearly 60 cider producers and farm cideries operating throughout the state.

Accelerating Finger Lakes Forward 

Today’s announcement complements “Finger Lakes Forward,” the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $5.2 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the 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. ​


Jason Conwall | [email protected] | (518) 292-5107

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