Sen. Metzger Honors Sullivan County Businesses with Empire Awards for Exceptional Efforts during the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond

Sullivan County, NY...Senator Jen Metzger (SD-42) yesterday presented New York State Senate Empire Awards to Foster Supply Hospitality and Prohibition Distillery, two Sullivan County businesses that have stepped up in times of need during this pandemic.  

Senator Metzger first traveled to Youngsville to present Sims and Kirsten Harlow Foster, co-founders of Foster Supply Hospitality, with a New York State Senate Empire Award in recognition of their dedication to revitalizing Sullivan County's economy and giving back to their community. The Fosters, who own and operate a number of small independent inns and restaurants, are committed to hiring and sourcing locally for their businesses, with a significant multiplier effect for the local economy. The couple also started a non-profit organization, A Single Bite, to educate public school students about food and where it comes from, and the value of good nutrition. During the pandemic, the Fosters shifted the focus of their organization to producing nutritious meals for food insecure families, preparing over 20,000 meals to date. As with the meals served in their restaurants and inns, their donated meals use ingredients from local farms where possible. The Fosters have teamed up with local Rotary and Lions Clubs in this food assistance effort, known as Operation Feed Phase 2.

"Sims Foster has deep roots in Sullivan County and he and Kirsten have made tremendous personal investments in improving nutrition and addressing food security in the county, and are greatly deserving of this Senate Empire Award," said Senator Metzger. "As Senate Agriculture Chair, I also applaud them for their conscious efforts to source ingredients locally for both their business and philanthropic pursuits, supporting our family farms. These are model practices I would love to see adopted widely throughout our region." 

In March, when New York faced shortages of disinfectant supplies to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Prohibition Distillery owner Brian Facquet transformed his Roscoe-based bourbon cream, gin, whiskey, and vodka production operation to make 16-ounce bottles and 5-gallon jugs of hand sanitizer, producing more than 50,000 gallons for hospitals, food processing businesses, package delivery services, and other essential industries affected by supply shortages. Mr. Facquet, who is also vice president of the New York State Distillers Guild, received the Empire Award from Senator Metzger at the Distillery’s Union Street location. 

“Prohibition Distillery showed great innovation and leadership, retooling the business to address a public health necessity at a critical time, and is very deserving of this award," said Senator Metzger. 

Jen Metzger represents the 42nd Senate District, which includes all of Sullivan County and parts of Delaware, Orange, and Ulster Counties. Senator Metzger serves as Chair of the Agriculture Committee and sits on the Environmental Conservation, Education, Health, Energy and Telecommunications, Local Government, Women’s Issues, Domestic Animal Welfare, and Legislative Commission on Rural Resources Committees.