ONEONTA, 01/22/16 – State Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I-Oneonta) today announced a $250,000 legislative grant to support Hartwick College’s Center for Craft Food & Beverage.
“Craft food and beverage businesses are springing up across New York, particularly in our region of the state,” said Senator Seward. “We need to nurture this blossoming industry that combines farming, agri-tourism and other related industries. The Hartwick College Center for Craft Food & Beverage is a one of kind resource for existing businesses and budding entrepreneurs that will help develop superior products and foster economic growth.”
New York State has experienced a true renaissance in craft brewing thanks to several new laws and state programs. Over the past year, 43 new farm breweries opened bringing the state’s number of operational farm breweries to 106. New York is also home to 133 micro-breweries and 39 restaurant breweries.
Senator Seward announced the grant during a ribbon cutting and open house at the Center for Craft Food & Beverage. The grant from Senator Seward has helped with the renovation of the lab space at the Johnstone Science Center to accommodate the Center for Craft Food & Beverage. Several other grants have assisted in the start-up including:
- $123,525 from the Appalachian Regional Commission;
- $128,000 from the Empire State Development Corporation;
- $110,000 from the George I. Alden Trust (Worcester,MA.);
- Corporate support from Brewery Ommegang.
Assemblyman Bill Magee said, “As we move away from the culture of fast food, and as demand for craft beverages and local foods accelerates, opportunities have opened up for educational institutions and businesses, as well as farms and tourism. Easing restrictions through The Craft New York Act, coupled with our continuing efforts to administer grant funding to new resources, like the Hartwick College Center for Craft Food & Beverage, will give entrepreneurs the assets they need to succeed in the up and coming industry.”
Hartwick College President Margaret L. Drugovich said, “Hartwick College is committed to leveraging our intellectual capital to create an economic benefit for the region. The testing, advising and educational activities of the Hartwick College Center for Craft Food & Beverage will provide a capacity building advantage to craft food and beverage entrepreneurs. The Center for Craft Food & Beverage will provide a critical link in a virtuous cycle of economic momentum in this industry, a momentum that will ultimately benefit the region’s citizens and our own Hartwick College students through expanded research, internship and, ultimately, employment opportunities for Hartwick graduates. We are grateful to Senator Seward for his support of this initiative, and for his continued, tenacious effort to advance the assets of this magnificent region of New York State.”
Hartwick College Center for Craft Food & Beverage Director Aaron MacLeod said, “Although we have been active for several months now, we are thrilled to formally announce we are open for business. There are so many people and organizations to thank in helping us get to this day, and today's event is just a small way for us to do that. We look forward to a bright future as we help meet crucial industry needs, and provide invaluable experiential learning opportunities for Hartwick students.”
“The Center for Craft Food & Beverage has generated a great deal of buzz by tapping into one of New York’s up and coming business sectors that combines our rich agricultural traditions with new and innovative practices. I am certain that this will quickly become another reason why Hartwick College is recognized as a true leader in education and will lead to even more success for our state’s homegrown products,” Seward concluded.
The Center for Craft Food & Beverage is a resource for testing, business development, and education that supports small and mid-sized breweries, wineries, distilleries, farms, and other craft food and beverage producers. The Center for Craft Food & Beverage offers testing services for product quality and improvement, provides technical assistance and business planning services, and under its auspices, Hartwick College is developing opportunities for training and education.