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Empire Brewing begins work on Farmstead Brewery

By Eric Reinhardt


CAZENOVIA — David Katleski is targeting the end of 2015 to have Empire Brewing Company’s Farmstead Brewery “up and operating and in business.”


Katleski, president and founder of Empire Brewing Company, made the remark as his company on May 8 broke ground on the expansion project at 33 Rippleton Road in Cazenovia.


The Empire Farmstead Brewery, a new manufacturing and agri-tourism facility, is a division of Empire Brewing, a brewer of handcrafted ales and lagers.


Empire Brewing is headquartered at 120 Walton St. in Syracuse’s Armory Square area.


Katleski anticipated the actual construction work would begin during the week of May 10.


Empire Brewing is building the 28,000-square-foot facility on a 22-acre property, according to its website.


The company is investing $5.9 million in the Cazenovia project, which will create 52 new jobs, according to a news release about the project from Empire State Development (ESD).


Oneida Savings Bank, New York Jobs Development Authority, Greater Syracuse Business Development Corporation, Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board, and Madison County’s revolving-loan program are providing financing for the project, according to an Empire Brewing fact sheet on the project.


“We are literally and figuratively indebted to you,” Katleski said, drawing light laughter from those assembled for the formal opening.


ESD, National Grid, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Cazenovia Area Community Development Association, and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority are providing additional grant funding.


Feldmeier Equipment, Inc. is manufacturing the brewery’s equipment, Empire Brewing said. The company plans to use “locally grown” feedstock, such as hops and grains, in the brewing process.


Kurt Ofer of Cooperstown–based Altonview Architects is designing the brewery. 


Ashley Freund Interiors of Geddes is designing the brewery’s tasting room, retail space, restaurant, cellar, and office, according to the fact sheet.


When completed, the Farmstead Brewery will be “the largest farm brewery of-its-kind in New York,” ESD said in its news release.



Empire Brewing Company is expanding its operations under the START-UP NY program.


Under the program, businesses sponsored by participating colleges and universities that create net new jobs will operate 100 percent tax-free for 10 years, paying no state income tax, business or corporate state or local taxes, sales tax, property tax, or franchise fees, according to the ESD news release.


Morrisville State College is sponsoring the tax-free area under which the Empire Farmstead Brewery will operate.


Empire Brewing is the first START-UP NY company in Central New York to break ground on an expansion project, according to the ESD news release.

ESD is New York’s primary economic-development agency.


“Without the assistance of New York state, I will tell you right now this project would not have happened,” Katleski noted.


Morrisville State College is implementing a new Brewing Studies program. As the brewery’s academic sponsor for START-UP NY, the school will work with Empire Brewing to help manage the facility and educate students on production brewing.


Employees will package the beer manufactured at the brewery in kegs, bottles, and cans for regional and international distribution.


Empire Brewing in 2010 began distributing its beer off-premise to wholesalers and retailers throughout New York state, but has reached its production capacity, according to the ESD news release.


In order to meet “increasing” demand, the business decided to expand its operations with Empire Farmstead Brewery, or “Brewstead,” which will provide both production and educational services.


The new facility will expand production from 4,500 barrels per year to 17,000 barrels in year one, and 20,000 barrels by year three, ESD said.



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