ESD Announces Ultra-Premium Beverage Facility to be Built in Schuyler County

19,000 Square-Foot Facility will be Located in Long-Vacant Schuyler County Business Park in the Town of Dix

April 30, 2018

Investment Complements “Southern Tier Soaring” - The Region’s Comprehensive Strategy to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy

Empire State Development (ESD) today announced that the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development (SCOPE) has broken ground on a state-of-the-art, ultra-premium beverage production and distribution facility in the Town of Dix just outside of Watkins Glen at the long vacant, 47-acre, Schuyler County Business Park. Following an extensive study conducted by SCOPE, in consultation with local wineries, it was determined that such a facility would allow area wine and craft brewery producers to expand their existing business simply by leasing space at the new center.  Modeled after a co-location model in California, the project aims to reduce overhead, shipping and storage expenses for area winemakers and craft breweries while supporting smart growth principles. This project is supported by the regionally designed Southern Tier Soaring economic development plan which specifically targets area food and agricultural endeavors. The facility is expected to be completed in November 2018.

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “This project, which allows regional wine and craft beverage businesses to share space and save on expansion costs, is part of a smart growth strategy supported by the Southern Tier Soaring plan that will encourage more artisanal beverage production and draw more visitors to the area.” 

One local craft brewer has already committed to growing its business as part of this new state supported partnership opportunity.  Lucky Hare Brewing, which opened its doors in 2016 in Hector, NY, operates a New York State Farm Brewery out of a 100-year-old barn that has been converted into a 3 barrel brewery outfitted with all Stout Tanks and Kettles. 

Richard Thiel, Co-Owner of Lucky Hare Brewing said, “The Ultra-Premium Beverage facility was exactly what Lucky Hare was looking for when we decided to increase production to keep up with the increasing demand for our products. The new state-of-the-art facility allows us to continue to focus our efforts on producing high quality beer while staying in Schuyler County. The additional capacity will allow us to expand our customer base throughout the region and internationally.”     

Empire State Development will facilitate the project through a $1,000,000 Southern Tier Soaring Upstate Revitalization Initiative Grant. Another $500,000 will be provided through an Economic Transformation Program Capital Grant since the location is within 15 miles of the former Monterery Shock Camp. $ 250,000 was also secured through a Round VI Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council Grant. The total project cost has been placed at $8.5 million.

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard Ball attended today’s event. “The investment in the new wine distribution center is yet another example of the strong commitment New York State has made to supporting our craft beverage producers”, said Commissioner Ball.  “This facility, which will be located in one of the State’s largest wine regions, will provide new opportunities for our wineries, allowing them to save on operating costs and explore new business ventures.  The project falls perfectly in line with the Southern Tier Soaring initiative that targets agriculture and agribusiness as a main driver for the regional economy.”

Judy McKinney-Cherry, Executive Director for the Schuyler County Partnership said, “The residents of this community have long-waited for business to occur at this site. The revitalization of our region is occurring and we appreciate Governor Cuomo’s continued commitment to invest in Upstate New York. This project exemplifies the key tenants for smart economic development by consolidating production in a designated business park and mitigating some of the greenfield development along Seneca Lake.  This will also improve the quality of the waters in Seneca Lake with the pre-treatment of production waste while supporting agriculture, entrepreneurs and exporters”.

This regional project builds on the transformation that is already underway in the nearby Village of Watkins Glen. In August of 2017, Governor Cuomo announced that Watkins Glen had been selected as the Round Two winner of his game-changing, $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI). The community will use the funding to leverage revitalization projects that will advance its vision for its downtown and expand upon the progressive development codes and recent investments in the Watkins Glen International Race Track to create a sustainable environment for a year-round innovative and prosperous economy.

The wine and craft beverage industries are big business in New York state, notably in the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions. Since Governor Cuomo hosted the state’s first ever Wine, Beer and Spirits Summit in 2012, 130 new wineries, farm wineries, craft brewers and distillers, as well as hard and farm cider operations, have begun operating in the Southern Tier and in the Finger Lakes, representing a 85% increase in the industry in the regions in that past six years.  In 2014, the policy changes implemented by this administration led the international Wine Enthusiast magazine to name New York State the "Wine Region of the Year”. In addition to noting the exceptional quality of New York wines and wine producers, the publication praised Governor Cuomo for updating outdated regulations, modernizing the law, and launching effective marketing programs to support the farm-based craft beverage sector.

Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chairs Tom Tranter, President of Corning Enterprises and Harvey Stenger, President of Binghamton University said, “The Ultra-Premium Beverage Facility was an important component of the winning Southern Tier Soaring Upstate Revitalization Initiative plan. It is truly rewarding to see this project become a reality and have no doubt this facility and the partnerships it will foster will help to further drive the regional economy.”

Senator Tom O'Mara said, “One of New York State’s great success stories has been the continued rise of the wine industry and, over the past several years, the rapid growth of the craft beverage industry regionally and statewide.  The Ultra-Premium Beverage Facility is an exciting addition that will continue to strengthen the foundations of the regional economy, create jobs, and help ensure long-term growth and sustainability.”

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano said, “The state-of-the-art Ultra-Premium Beverage Facility is the type of state investment in economic growth that truly makes a difference for local communities, industries, residents and taxpayers.  The fact that it is focused on wine, craft beverage and agricultural industries equals exciting potential to create and expand opportunities for job creation, economic diversity, and long-term strength and success in key sectors of our regional economy.”  

Dennis Fagan, Chairman of the Schuyler County Legislature said, “Today’s ceremony is more than a groundbreaking in a long vacant business park, it is a symbol of the rebirth and resurgence that Schuyler County is experiencing.”

Harold Russell, Town of Dix Supervisor said, “I am very happy that we will be having a business in our Business park, it has been a long time coming.  Hopefully it brings more business to the park and more jobs.”

Accelerating Southern Tier Soaring 
Today's announcement complements “Southern Tier Soaring the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $4.6 billion in the region since 2012 to lay for groundwork for the plan – attracting a talented workforce, growing business and driving innovation. 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 Binghamton, Johnson City and Corning as a destination in which to grow and invest. Now, the region is accelerating Southern Tier Soaring 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 10,200 new jobs. More information is available here.


Shari Voorhees-Vincent | [email protected] | (585) 399-7055
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