With the explosion of the craft beverage industry, advocates for economic development in Washington and Warren Counties are planning this summer to launch a regional tour as a means of connecting more tourists with locally made beer, wines, and other specialty beverages.
John Davidson, co-owner of Davidson Brothers Brewing Co., announced this week the company produced the first brew from its new 22,000-square foot facility in Queensbury.
“Fifty barrels of our signature IPA that we brewed 17 years ago downtown,” said Davidson.
Davidson Brothers opened its Glens Falls brewpub in the mid-90’s. Its new facility houses a Peter Austin brewing system, a traditional, open-top fermentation system that Davidson says is the second-largest of its kind in the U.S.
But Davidson Brothers is not the only beverage producer expanding in the region. Smaller companies have been spurred on by New York’s recent farm brewery, distillery, and cidery laws that have helped the Empire State capitalize on the craft brewing craze.
Peter Aust is president and CEO of the Adirondack Regional Chamber of Commerce.
“There’s an explosion of both beer and ale brewers, distilleries for distilled spirits, and wineries who are developing various types of wines throughout this entire region,” said Aust. “In the past six months alone there’s been over a dozen of these companies, these microenterprises that are focused on craft beverages that have developed and started their businesses.”
The Adirondack Regional Chamber, working with other local chambers, is preparing for launch this summer a craft beer tour for the Warren/Washington County region.
Aust said the work is still in its planning stages.
“It includes mapping and special tours that you can take that will part of this, it will go from the southern part of our area to the northern part of our area,” said Aust.
Aust said the tourism focus will help bring more customers to the area.
Ed Bartholomew, president of EDC Warren County, said the craft beverage tour is a natural extension of the wine trails in Western New York.
“If you go to the western part of New York state your inundated with opportunities tours along the Finger Lakes and I think this is a natural extension that brings in these communities in some positive way, just for some recreation and tourism value and I think that’s just another added element.”
Davidso said he believes his new brewery in Queensbury, located close to popular outlet shopping and Six Flags Great Escape, as part of a craft beverage tour will help bring more people into downtown Glens Falls.
“So it brings more people to understand the product and what we have in the region, and it pushes people that come to the brewery now for tastings and turs down to Glens Falls to come to our restaurants, go to the museums, shops, and create some activity down there,” said Davidson.
Ed Bartholomew mentioned state Senator Betty Little’s interest in establishing a local history tour. Historical attractions in the area include Fort Ticonderoga and Fort William Henry in Lake George.
Bartholomew said this fall, EDC is looking to hold an arts, recreation, tourism, and hospitality summit.
“And bring all of the partners together both from a public point of view and a private point of view to see how we can share marketing,” said Bartholomew. “Great Escape has great marketers, Gore Mountain – and they have large budgets. Municipal budgets of promotions are rather small so let’s pool our talents together and see how we can be more creative and come up with our identity. And it’s going to be the greater Lake George area, then let’s use that as our portal.”
The chambers’ craft beer tour is planned to begin this June.