Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Jola Szubielski 518-457-0752
Dave Bullard 315-487-7711 x 1377

July 13, 2015

Agriculture Commissioner Announces New Partnerships to Support the State’s Growing Beverage Industry

New Partnership Between Taste NY and The New York Wine & Culinary Center, as well as Funding for Hops and Barley Research, Announced Following Governor Cuomo’s Capital for a Day in Rochester

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today announced two new partnerships to further support and grow the beverage industry in the Finger Lakes region.  A new partnership between Taste NY and the New York Wine & Culinary Center was unveiled following yesterday’s successful listening session with beverage industry stakeholders during Governor Cuomo’s Capital for a Day in Rochester.  In addition, $200,000 will be provided to Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) and its New York State Agricultural Experiment Station (NYSAES) in Geneva for research on hops and malting barley, the two major ingredients in the production of beer. 

Capital for a Day was created by Governor Cuomo to bring state government directly to the people it serves.  The day-long event partnered state officials with residents, local leaders and stakeholders to examine first-hand the needs of a community and how New York State government can build upon its strengths and make a positive impact on its residents.

“The Governor’s commitment to growing the beverage industry has led to great successes—from introducing our agricultural products to new audiences to boosting the number of new agri-businesses across the state,” said Agriculture Commissioner Ball.  “By continuing to listen to our partners about what will help them grow, we have been able to realize some new successes.  Taste NY will partner with another great brand, the New York Wine & Culinary Center, to not only better educate culinary students about the benefits of using New York ingredients but also to help our farmers and producers extend their reach to new markets. And through the funding provided to CALS and NYSAES, we are supporting the research necessary to source New York State ingredients and help the beverage industry reach its full potential.”

The New York Wine & Culinary Center, a premier attraction in the Finger Lakes that showcases New York’s dynamic agriculture, food and beverage industries through its classes, events, and farm-to-table restaurant, is partnering with Taste NY to further expand its dedication to New York-sourced products and ingredients, as well as promote and educate visitors about the diversity of New York agricultural products.

As part of the partnership, the New York Wine & Culinary Center (NYWCC) will incorporate the Taste NY experience into its culinary and beverage educational classes.  Recipes used in classes will include New York State products and will list the local farmers and suppliers of ingredients to familiarize students with the wide variety of New York agricultural products. 

The NYWCC will also modify the majority of its promotional material with the addition of the Taste NY logo, such as its newly launched NYWCC farm-to-table food truck which features the branding.  The food truck offers a menu that represents an extension of the cuisine of the Upstairs Bistro, NYWCC’s popular restaurant, and uses nearly 100% New York State products on the road.  The food truck will be on the move this summer at various events, wineries, breweries and more.

Taste NY branding will also be added to the menu at Upstairs Bistro to reflect its dedication to local sourcing. It continues to offer a 100% New York wine and beer list, as well as a large number of spirit and cider products from the state. In addition, the center is committed to hosting a series of events, including Taste NY Garden Tent events and Taste NY Winery, Brewery, Distillery and Cidery Dinners, highlighting New York State foods and beverages that will expand the reach of New York’s agricultural products and help bring them to new consumers.

“We’re very excited and proud of this new relationship,” said NYWCC General Manager, Peter Rogers. “The Center was built on a premise of promoting the agriculture, tourism, and beverage industries of New York State, so this partnership is a natural fit.”

The mission at NYWCC is to educate, engage and excite visitors by celebrating and showcasing New York’s finest in wine, craft beer, food and agriculture. Located in Canandaigua, NY, on Canandaigua Lake, the center offers an array of inviting experiences in a setting that proudly highlights the natural beauty, rich history and agricultural bounty of New York State.

The Commissioner also announced the state will provide $200,000 to Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) and its New York State Agricultural Experiment Station (NYSAES) in Geneva for research into hops and malting barley, the two major ingredients in the production of beer.  The funding, which was included in the 2015-16 State Budget, complements and builds on $133,242 in funding previously provided by the Genesee Valley Regional Market Authority.

The Agricultural Experiment Station is in the second year of a multi-year research plan aimed at testing the growing stock for malting barley, evaluating disease resistance of various varieties, and evaluating which varieties are best suited to New York’s climate.

Dr. Susan Brown, The Goichman Family Director of NYSAES said, “On behalf of our faculty and extension staff, I know that my colleagues at CALS and NYSAES are committed to delivering the outstanding science and outreach essential to bolstering this resurgence of the brewing and farm-based beverage industry in New York State. This generous investment supports our partnership with growers, producers and entrepreneurs, continues to foster economic development and, importantly, expands the portfolio of New York beverages in an ever-increasing number of bottles, pints and glasses across our state.”

The research being conducted by Cornell University will help meet the growing demand of hops and barley for use in farm-based breweries. Governor Cuomo’s Farm Brewery Legislation, which has spurred the rapid growth of craft brewing in New York State, requires farm brewers to increase the percentage of New York-grown hops and all other ingredients in farm-brewed beer from 20 percent today to 90 percent by 2024. 

The 2012 USDA Census of Agriculture, the most recent official statistics available, shows that 7,679 acres of land in New York was used to produce barley, while 19 acres of land was in use for growing hops.  A Cornell Cooperative Extension hops expert estimates that more than 300 acres of land is in use statewide now to grow hops, with the number growing by 75 to 100 acres a year and with larger farming organizations considering large-scale hops growing operations.

Senate Agriculture Chair Patty Ritchie said, “Investments in the State Budget are helping to create an entirely new farm industry by connecting consumers with local growers, supporting new jobs and strengthening our agriculture economy as well as farmers’ bottom lines. I was pleased to work with the Governor to deliver this additional funding for hops research and to create a partnership between craft brewers, farmers and Cornell University, America’s premier agricultural institution.  It’s these investments that are helping to make agriculture stronger, create successful entrepreneurs and allowing farmers to grow.

Assembly Agriculture Chair Bill Magee said, “The beverage industry is a critical component of our agricultural economy.  We have had great accomplishments since the Governor's summits on beer, wine, spirits and ciders and both the Taste NY partnership with the New York Wine and Culinary Center and the research funding included in this year's budget will help us continue the momentum.”

Senator Michael F. Nozzolio said, “New York agriculture remains our state’s number one job producer, and continues to grow and expand into new markets and opportunities.  The new partnership announced today by the Agriculture Commissioner between the New York Wine and Culinary Center and Taste NY, as well as the additional support for the world class research conducted by the Cornell University College of Agriculture and the Cornell’s Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva will help create new job opportunities for the Finger Lakes region and the entire State of New York.”

Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb said, “Through hard work and innovation, the Finger Lakes Region has established itself as a national leader in agriculture, wineries and its food and beverage offerings. The New York Wine & Culinary Center and Cornell’s Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva are two of the state’s great attractions and success stories. It’s important that we provide investments and a reinforced commitment to these cornerstone industries and institutions so that they may continue to bolster the state and local economies.”

2015 Press Releases