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1886 Malt House formally opens in Volney

By Eric Reinhardt

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The 1886 Malt House has formally opened in the former Miller Brewing Company plant in Volney, Empire State Development said in a news release issued Thursday. (Photo provided by Empire State Development)

VOLNEY, N.Y. — The 1886 Malt House has formally opened in the former Miller Brewing Company plant in Volney, Empire State Development (ESD) said in a news release issued Thursday.

The facility will work to meet the “rising” demand for malted barley that the “rapidly growing” statewide beer industry is creating, ESD contends.

To support the undertaking, Empire State Development has offered up to $700,000 through a CNY Rising Upstate Revitalization Initiative grant. The initiative is expected to create eight new full-time jobs. The owners of the malt house have invested more than $12.5 million into the project.

“As the number of craft breweries in New York state continues to rise so does the demand for homegrown malt barley. This investment in the 1886 Malt House will help area farmers and brewers meet client demand, further supporting the unprecedented growth of the industry statewide,” Howard Zemsky, president, CEO & commissioner of Empire State Development, said in the agency’s release.

The name, 1886 Malt House, references “another era” when beer making was “big business” in New York and is also a nod to the year the Statue of Liberty was officially dedicated in New York Harbor.

In 2012, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a farm brewing law, and the in the years since, the number of New York state breweries has grown from 60 to more than 370.

 

New use

The project included renovating the former Miller Brewing Company plant into a grain malting facility capable of producing 30 metric tons per week. The Miller plant had closed more than 20 years ago.

The malting facility shares some administrative and logistical operations with owner and operator, Sunoco. The Newtown Square, Pennsylvania–based oil company had opened a corn-based ethanol-production plant on the site in 2010.

The 1886 Malt House grand opening “symbolizes two years of collaboration and hard work by an inventive team” here at the facility, Erin Tones, marketing manager of the 1886 Malt House, said in the ESD news release.

“We are thrilled to be part of this growing industry, and even more excited to be sourcing our grain exclusively from New York farmers. We have developed relationships with growers across the state who are growing fantastic grain, and in turn we’ll be able to provide our craft beverage producers with high quality malt,” said Tones.

 

Production

The system at the 1886 Malt House will be capable of producing a diverse group of malted products for craft-brewing industry demands, ESD contends.

Officials expect the malt operation to produce more than 2,000 tons of malted barley sourced from New York state farms per year. That equates to more than 1.6 million gallons of beer. New York has 13 other malt houses, but 1886 is the “largest,” ESD said.

“The opening of the 1886 Malt House could not have come at a better time for New York as the number of farm breweries and barley production continue to skyrocket throughout the state,” Vincent Bradley, chairman of the New York State Liquor Authority, said. “The 1886 Malt House will help to ensure our craft brewers and farmers can meet the ever increasing demand for locally produced products made with locally grown ingredients.”

The growth of the craft-beverage industry has “helped boost” the agricultural economy with more producers sourcing ingredients from local New York farms, ESD said.

ESD cited data from Cornell University that indicates the acreage of hops grown in New York state has “more than doubled” from 2013 to 2016, and the acreage of malting barley has increased by “nearly 500 [percent]” in the same three-year period, from 336 to about 2,000 acres.

Contact Reinhardt at ereinhardt@cnybj.com

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