Happy Birthday to Brew!

Brew Central launched one year ago, when it set out on its mission to tell the “Stories on Tap in Central New York” with profiles of the area’s breweries, pubs, cideries, distilleries and wineries.

Tapping into the ever-growing national craft beer market and burgeoning craft spirit scene, Brew Central highlights the one-time hop capital of the country. That rich history and current growth make us “America’s Craft Brew Destination.”

Brew Central boasts more than 50 partners and continues to grow in 2014. As our followers and fans know, Brew Central is about more than tastings. We focus on the people, their histories in brewing and their personalities. Visitors can actually meet and talk with brewers, distillers and craft pub proprietors when they travel to Brew Central.

To date, Brew Central has visited a dozen partners for photo shoots and this year adds video to the mix. Look for featured profiles under each category on this website.

The site launched in June 2013, when the first digital ads appeared on national sites like craftbeer.com, beeradvocate.com and beerconnoisseur.com as well as the Ad Network. Draft and Brew Your Own magazines promoted Brew Central to their readerships via e-communications. We’ve also earned some great coverage from the press.

Print ads were produced and placed in national publications, including Beer Advocate, All About Beer, Beer Connoisseur and Zymurgy, the official publication of the American Homebrewers Association. We’ve expanded this exposure with placement in the Ale Street News, Great Lakes Brewing News and Yankee Brew News. Regional magazines in the Finger Lakes and Capital Region also ran ads.

The series focused on the “Stories on Tap” earned national recognition with Communicator Awards of Distinction in four categories last month. Images focused on the people in Brew Central with strong imagery and teased their stories with short copy in the ads.

The website has done extremely well thanks to our readership and the number of fans and followers on Facebook and Twitter continues to swell.

What else is on tap in Central New York? Well, we’re on the road once again, so keep an eye out for new photos and video as we continue to tell the “Stories on Tap in Central New York.”

Brew Central’s Syracuse Hosts Debut Craft New York Beer Fest

Some 400 craft beer fans packed Syracuse’s Landmark Theatre Nov. 16 in a New York-exclusive event that featured 24 breweries – including five Brew Central partners – serving up some 48 samples.

Good Nature Brewmaster Matt Whalen chats with a fan.
Good Nature Brewmaster Matt Whalen chats with Ken Hebb, owner of St. Lawrence Brewing Co. in Canton, N.Y.

The New York State Brewers Association’s Craft New York Beer Fest hoped to create a tasty and educational experience for partakers.

“That’s our thing: All the brewers are here. You can meet them and talk to them,” brewers association Executive Director Paul Leone said.

The debut festival of the 10-year-old New York brewers collective keyed in on that interaction, said Tim Butler, brewmaster at Brew Central’s Empire Brewing Co.

“Our movement is just starting to gain steam here,” Butler said, comparing the New York’s beer scene to well-established brew communities in California, Oregon and Colorado. “We have to educate the consumer that our beers are just as good if not better than other parts of the country.

“We’re not competitors here. When we join forces like this, we’re one voice,” he said.

Breweries – a small sampling of the New York State Brewers Association’s 140-plus members – represented just about every part of the state, including Central New York. Likewise, the Craft New York Beer Fest drew brew fans from places near and far.

Ryan and Darcy Hampel of Ottawa, Ontario, were extremely pleased with the variety of beer – a majority of which they’d never tried – and the opportunity to talk brew with the men and women who make it.

“The U.S. has the reputation of being the place for craft beer,” Ryan Hampel said. “It’s very cool to see what the trends are down here.”

Brew Central partners Brewery Ommegang, Empire, F.X. Matt/Saranac, Good Nature and Middle Ages brewing companies proudly poured their popular samples. Syracuse craft brew pub Kitty Hoynes also served up food samples along with a number of other local vendors.

The New York State Brewers Association will use the Syracuse fest as a catalyst for future events hosted all across the state, Leone said. The association targeted Syracuse for the inaugural New York brew celebration because of the excellent beer culture here.

“We get great beer here – a lot of people are surprised,” Butler said. “We’re just as well-versed as any other big beer city.”

The Craft New York Beer Fest appropriately capped off the sixth annual Syracuse Beer Week, one of the longest running such events in the country.

New York State Brewers Association Sponsors Craft New York Beer Fest at the Historic Landmark Theatre in Syracuse

The New York State Brewers Association is proud to announce the first in a series of yearly beer festivals to take place on Nov. 16, 2013, at the historic Landmark Theatre in Syracuse, N.Y. The Craft New York Beer Fest will bring together 24 New York Breweries from across the state featuring up to 48 hard to find and award winning beers. To make this very special event more exclusive, Syracuse First, a local not-for-profit that involves a network of locally owned businesses, has come together to supply food sampling and pairing to go along with each brewery attending.

“As the craft beer industry around the state of New York adds more breweries each week, combined with the continued interest in beer festivals, we felt there was a great opportunity to close out Syracuse Beer Week with an exclusive beer and food pairing event that was both educational and unique”, said Paul Leone, executive director of the New York State Brewers Association. “When choosing a craft beer, it’s always important to think local first, so to add to that theme, we added food pairing to this event which will be put together by Syracuse First, whose mission is to bring together local businesses to support awareness and education in our community.”

With more than 140 craft breweries in New York state, the 24 that will be pouring samples will come from every corner of the state. The Craft New York Beer Fest will also feature all 7 medal-winning breweries at this year’s Great American Beer Festival which was held last month in Denver Colorado.

“We brewers have a sort of bond; a brotherhood.  There are so many other beer festivals that focus more on quantity then quality.  This festival focuses on the CRAFT of hand making beer and the NYS brewers will be here to support the NYSBA’s efforts” said Tim Butler, Brewmaster of Syracuse’s own Empire Brewing Co.  “It’s one thing to simply have a festival and pour samples, but the NYSBA decided to raise the bar and hold an event that brings together unique hand crafted NYS made beers that are more rare and hard to find in Central NY” says Paul Leone. “We really want to make this Craft New York Beer Fest more than a drinking event, we want to make it a pure New York State craft beer experience.”

The event will take place 5 to 8 p.m. at the Landmark Theatre located at 362 South Salina St. in Syracuse. Tickets are $40 if purchased in advance and $50 (if available) the door. Tickets can be purchased in Syracuse at the Empire Brewing Co., Middle Ages Brewing Co., The Blue Tusk, and the Landmark Theatre, or they can be purchased online.

For more information on this very special event including breweries attending, please go to www.craftnewyorkbeerfest.com.

VIDEO: Hopped Upstate

WAKE Multimedia‘s series on the revival of upstate New York hop growing continues. View the two latest chapters, “From the Ground Up” and “A New Crop” (featuring shots from Middle Ages Brewing Co.) below …

Hopped Upstate: From the Ground Up from WAKE Multimedia on Vimeo.

Dave Pasick of Szaro Farms in Utica, N.Y., has been working to expand his hop yard for the last several months. After an attempt to raise money on Kickstarter didn’t work out for him, he’s been researching other opportunities for funding. Dave, like many new hop farmers across the state, is starting from scratch and building his hop yard from the ground up. Hops are a new crop and new industry in NYS, but despite the challenges, he feels confident in the backing by the state and the resources that are becoming available for farmers and brewers.

Hopped Upstate: A New Crop from WAKE Multimedia on Vimeo.

In the last decade, craft beer has boomed in New York and, as a result, so has a brand new hops industry. Its a new crop for most of the farmers building hop yards and there’s a lot of room for growth. Steve Miller, state hops specialist at Cornell Cooperative Extension says that the biggest challenge standing in front of a maturing hops industry is lack of knowledge by beginner hop farmers. He works with CCE, the Northeast Hop Alliance, and the Geneva Experiment Station to do research on growing NYS native hops – and most importantly, getting that information to the farmers.

Hopped Upstate: A Rising Tide

This is the third video from Hopped Upstate and the second update from Dave and Kayla Pasick of Szaro Farms in Utica. I visited Dave in May while he was finishing up a new row of poles and transplanting new wild hop plants from the barn and silo on his land. At that time, he was already seeing tremendous growth in the bines and by now, they’re probably towering.

Earlier this year, Dave set up a Kickstarter campaign in an attempt to crowd source some funding to help expand his hop yard. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to reach his goal (meaning he received none of the money pledged), and felt that maybe the timing had something to do with it.

Now half way into the first year of New York’s Farm Brewery Law, we’re seeing a rising tide of media attention around craft beer, hop farming, malting, etc. Dave was interviewed in April by Innovation Trail radio, and before that by the Utica Observer-Dispatch. He feels extremely encouraged by the continuing hype and thinks it’s the best way for people to get informed about the business and farm networks developing in their local communities.

Watch the latest video below and learn more about Hopped Upstate here.

Hopped Upstate: A Rising Tide from WAKE Multimedia on Vimeo.