Patty Ritchie

March 02, 2016

Bill Would Establish “North Country Craft Beer Trail”

State Senator Patty Ritchie is announcing passage of her legislation to create New York’s first official craft beer trail, a unique attraction that would boost the Upstate economy and highlight local craft breweries in Northern New York.

Similar to the way in which wine trails have been established in the region, Ritchie’s bill (S.518-A) would create the “North Country Craft Beer Trail,” linking craft breweries in Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties. 

“Just as the state’s wine industry has experienced significant growth in recent years, so too has our state’s craft beer sector, with more and more breweries popping up and increasing in popularity among consumers,” said Senator Ritchie, who chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee. 

“However, while wine trails exist throughout New York State, there aren’t any official craft beer trails. By creating our state’s first-ever craft beer trail, we can provide a boost to craft breweries, which in turn will help to increase tourism, create jobs and promote the sale of local products.”

Under Senator Ritchie’s measure, the North Country Craft Beer Trail would link breweries from Watertown to Canton, and signage would be installed to mark the new attraction. In the future, Senator Ritchie plans to introduce legislation to create and link additional craft beer trails in an effort to further grow the industry and promote tourism statewide.

Senator Ritchie’s proposal to create the state’s first ever craft beer trail is just part of the work she has done to promote craft beverages and support our state’s agriculture industry.  Late last year, she helped mark the official opening of the St. Lawrence Wine Trail—the state’s 18th wine trail—which was established through legislation she sponsored.  In addition, earlier this week, Senator Ritchie’s measure to help boost the state’s craft beverage industry by allowing farm breweries, wineries and distilleries to sell each other’s products passed the Senate. 

In recent years, New York’s craft beer industry has grown significantly, with the number of craft breweries more than doubling since 2012. Today, New York State is the third largest producer of craft beer in the United States, with an annual economic impact of $3.5 billion.