Campaign to help microbrewers

John Zick
Co-owners of Finger Lakes Beer Company, Mark Goodwin, left, and Wayne Peworchik.

Beer lovers, you’ve got a friend in Charles Schumer.

Schumer, New York’s senior senator, announced Wednesday, Dec. 14, the creation of a new campaign aimed at placing more locally brewed New York beer in restaurants, bars and stores in New York City and throughout the state. His “I Love NY Brew” campaign is backed by the New York Brewers Association and many upstate breweries.

“Local breweries across the state are proven job-creators – helping support 60,000 New York jobs and brewing not simply great beer, but billions for our local economy, too,” said Schumer, a Democrat. “Craft breweries have catapulted New York to the top shelf of beer states, and our beers are more than ready for primetime.

“Whether you are searching for a six-pack at your local 7-Eleven or grabbing Buffalo wings with a beer after work, you should have a wide assortment of locally brewed beers to choose from,.” he said.

Schumer has written a personal letter to the National Association of Convenience Stores and Fuel Retailing and the New York State Restaurant Association urging those organizations to offer more beers from the state’s 77 micro-breweries, regional craft breweries and brewpubs.

“I’m strongly urging New York restaurants, bars and convenience stores, alike, from across the state to take a close look a New York’s beers and consider putting them on their shelves or on their menu,” Schumer said. “It would be a win-win, both for those selling the beer, and for the breweries making it.”

Schumer noted that some beers, like Genesee and Saranac, have gained popularity in New York City, but he believes the upstate brewing market is underutilized downstate.

New York-brewed beer currently represents a 7.5-percent market share statewide, according to David Katleski, president of the state Brewers association.

“One can only image the economic impact to our state if craft beer sale here reflected that of craft beer sales in Oregon, where they’re 30 percent,” Katleski said.

According to the Beer Institute, the 60,000 brewing-related jobs in New York paid $4.6 billion in wages last year and accounted for more than $13.2 billion in economic activity.

“Our local breweries provide good-paying jobs and help draw tourists and visitors to the Empire State,” Schumer said. “I’m going to do everything I can to help them grow and expand even further.”

There are 15 breweries in the Southern Tier and the Rochester-Finger Lakes region, and at least 10 more are planned, including one in the Town of Horseheads.

 Last year, the existing 15 breweries produced more than 550,000 barrels of beer.