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Farm breweries on the rise, including in Monroe County

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday announced that 43 farm breweries have started in New York since November 2014.

The state listed three suchs breweries in Monroe County: Knucklehead Craft Brewing LLC in Webster, Swiftwater Brewing Company LLC on Mt. Hope Avenue and RG Brewery in Brockport.

In addition, Lost Borough Brewing Co., also a farm brewery, in Rochester, opened the last week of November 2014, the company said Wednesday.

Farm breweries in the state now number 106.

"New York’s thriving craft beverage industry continues to grow, create jobs and bolster local economies in every corner of this state," Cuomo said in a statement. "This administration has cut red tape and eased regulations that have helped these farm breweries expand while strengthening the state’s agriculture and tourism industries."

In addition to farm breweries, New York has 133 microbreweries and 39 restaurant breweries. The Farm Brewery Law—enacted by Cuomo in 2012 and effective as of January 2013—helped save brewers nearly $1 million, officials said.

“In less than three years, over a hundred entrepreneurs have taken advantage of the new farm brewery license, creating jobs and demand for locally grown farm products in the process,” said Vincent Bradley, state liquor authority chairman, in a statement.

The craft brewing industry has contributed 6,552 direct jobs and 4,814 indirect jobs, officials said. It touts more than $2.9 billion in revenue and $554 million in wages, totaling $3.5 billion.

The industry also has added 3,000 jobs—representing $77 million in annual wages—in tourism associated with the industry, according to the Cuomo administration.

Spurs to growth in the industry include the elimination of fees such as labeling fees, tax relief for tastings, growing production levels, a push to market craft beverages, and research funding.

"The significant growth of farm breweries in the past year is great news for New York State,” said Howard Zemsky, Empire State Development president, CEO and commissioner. “We are excited to participate in the resurgence of craft production, which includes leveraging New York-grown ingredients."

(c) 2015 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or e-mail rbj@rbj.net.

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