LAGRANGEVILLE – Standing outside one of the hops drying houses at Eastern View Farms & Dutchess Hops in Lagrangeville on Monday, US Senator Charles Schumer pledged to work with the US Small Business Administration and Department of Agriculture to get funding for local farmers to grow hops and buy equipment.
Justin Riccobono and Carmine Istivan, owners of Eastern View Farms; Patrick Manning, executive director of Hudson Valley Hops; Sean Eldrege of Hudson Valley Ventures; and representatives of the Catskill Brewery, Newburgh Brewing Company, Hudson Valley Brewing Company, Yonkers Brewing Company and Chatham Brewing Company attended the event.
New York State currently has 75 craft breweries that get their hops from out of state. With the crop being planted by Dutchess Hops, they will become the first commercial hops farm in the Hudson Valley.
A goal of the project, and the Hudson Valley Hops Coop, according to Schumer, is to create a ‘Beer Trail’ in the Hudson Valley that will attract tourism the way that apples and wine do.
“The cooperative will be instrumental in creating a beer trail throughout the region and that will bolster agri-tourism,” Schumer said.
That is especially important in light of the proximity to New York City, Schumer said.
Christopher Basso, the brewmaster of Newburgh Brewing Company, is excited about the prospects.
“Projects like this are really going to make it more feasible for me and other brewers to use New York State ingredients in our beer, and really make it local beer,” Basso said.
Craft brewers will be able to capitalize on the local food movement.
“What better way to support local; when you’re not just buying a beer but, you’re buying a beer that was made with products from a local farm,” said Paul Halayko, president of the Newburgh Brewing Company.
Schumer promised to check into the new farm bill and make sure that hops flowers are covered under the new crop insurance.
“So we will check and make sure that they are covered by the crop insurance, because for a new industry that’s really important,” the senator said.