Mayville, N.Y.: – County Executive candidate, George Borrello, is excited to announce his plans to develop an incentives program to assist farmers who supply raw materials to the brewery and distilleries industries (hops, barley, oats, malt, and other agriculturally-produced raw materials), and incentives to help the Breweries and Distilleries themselves. The program, to be named Grow Chautauqua, will help offset the costs associated with farm production infrastructure, equipment purchases, and certain soft costs not typically covered through existing programs and traditional lenders. As part of the program, the County will also seek to make County-owned sites available to farmers interested in participating in the program, thereby putting fallow land back into productive use.
“The program’s proposed incentives will be made available to farmers and will be tied to certain benchmarks such as job creation, the total private investment made by the agricultural concern, and an increase in production,” stated Mr. Borrello. “This will assist breweries by increasing their local supply of raw materials and will help to offset capital costs. Grow Chautauqua! incentives will also help the community by creating jobs thereby increasing local tax revenues, putting more productive land into use for agriculture, and growing the brewing and distilling industries.” The goal is to establish Chautauqua County as a mecca for breweries and distilleries, as well as their agricultural suppliers. “While these crops can sometimes be a lower-priced commodity, there are specialty brewers, distillers and others that will pay a premium for quality products. For example, there is a local grower, I was told about, who is selling hops at a premium price to a popular craft brewery in downtown Buffalo,” Mr. Borrello explained.
Another key component of the program will be to potentially establish a countywide co-op for hops, where the county will invest in processing and storage infrastructure so that local growers can grow hops and bring them to the facility to be processed and stored. Grant funding and other support will be sought for not only creating the co-op but also to develop an aggressive marketing campaign for the Grow Chautauqua! Program.
The Grow Chautauqua! Program is in response to an increase in demand resulting from the startup and expansion of new breweries and distilleries county-wide and throughout the state. “There has been an explosion of new breweries and distilleries across New York State and throughout the nation,” stated Mr. Borrello. In many cases, breweries, wineries, distilleries, wine/brewery trails, and festivals have become regional destinations, drawing people from outside of the area to support local producers and to spend money. The Grow Chautauqua! Program is also in response to the Governor’s new Farm Brewery Law, which created a license for craft brewers that use New York grown ingredients and includes an exemption on brand label registration fees for small brewers. Several other regulatory and legislative reforms at the state level have created an environment ripe for the growth and expansion of breweries, distilleries, and the agricultural suppliers to them. “Before the civil war, New York State was one of the leading hops producers in the Country, so there is no reason to believe that it can’t regain this position in the future,” concluded Mr. Borrello.