As Madison County’s Hop Fest Approaches, Area Finds Itself on the Leading Edge of a Brewery Boom

(syracuse.com)

For years, the annual Madison County Hop Festival has celebrated the area’s rich history of hop-growing, and, by extension, beer brewing.

The present is finally catching up to the history.

When this year’s hop fest gets under way this weekend – Good Nature Brewing Co. in Hamilton – and two more in the planning stages that should open in 2014.

Those are Empire Brewery in Cazenovia, a standalone spin-off of Armory’s Square’s Empire Brewing Co., and Henneberg Brewing Co., which will be located in the town of Cazenovia near New Woodstock.

All three have, or will have, state licenses that let them operate as a “farm brewery,” a new designation that offers tax incentives and other benefits to brewers who use New York state-sourced ingredients, including barley and hops. The amount of New York ingredients required to keep the benefits increases over time.

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