Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Jola Szubielski, Lisa Koumjian 518-457-0752

March 23, 2017

Taste NY Partners with Rochester Americans Hockey Club to Expand Local Food and Beverage Offerings at New York Sports Venues

Taste NY Concession at Blue Cross Arena Features Nearly One Dozen New York Beer, Wine and Cider Producers - Menu Available Here

New York Products Now Offered to Nearly Four Million Visitors at Sports Venues Statewide

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today announced that Taste NY and the Rochester Americans Hockey Club have teamed up to bring a Taste NY concession featuring New York food and beverage products to Blue Cross Arena, home of the Amerks.  This project builds on Taste NY’s successful partnerships with other sports venues across the State: the Times Union Center in Albany, Barclays Center in Brooklyn, and five Minor League Baseball teams, including the Rochester Red Wings and Batavia Muck Dogs.  Through these partnerships, local products are now enjoyed by nearly four million fans at sports venues across the State and helping drive agritourism. 

“We are thrilled to be partnering with the Rochester Amerks as we look to build on the success of Taste NY and take the Governor’s vision to the next level,” Commissioner Ball said. “Year after year, we see Taste NY add value to participating companies by promoting their products and connecting them with consumers at key locations like Blue Cross Arena.  As a result, New York businesses and agricultural producers have been able to expand and drive economic growth in communities throughout the State.”

“Being Rochester’s hometown hockey team for over six decades, we are proud and privileged to partner with Taste NY to introduce a new and exciting product line,” said Rob Kopacz, Vice President of Business Operations for the Amerks. “It’s great being able to showcase and serve outstanding snack and beverage options to our fans that not only taste great but are also produced right here in New York State. Having the ability to support local vendors in our region who have supported us for all these years is a great feeling and is something the whole organization is certainly proud of.”

Taste NY Concession
The Taste NY concession is open to the more than 500,000 fans who visit the arena annually for Amerks’ home games, other sporting events and concerts.  It features a variety of New York-made beer, wine and cider from nearly one dozen New York producers including Finger Lakes-based Rogers Beer Company, Three Heads Brewing, Casa Larga Vineyards, Swedish Hill Winery, Knapp Winery and Rootstock Ciderworks. It also includes a selection of juices and food such as Bostrom Farms snack sticks, Marquart Farms New York Chips, and Red Jacket juices, which are all made in the Finger Lakes. 

Beer is sold on tap and by the bottle and can; wine is offered by the glass.  Products will be rotated throughout the season to maximize exposure for local companies.  Additional New York food and beverage companies, including Di Paolo Baking Company, Zweigle’s, Salvatore’s Old Fashion Pizzeria, Bully Hill Vineyards, Southern Tier Brewing Company and Rohrbach Brewing Company, are also offered at various concessions throughout the arena and will be highlighted on the menu by the Taste NY logo.   

“The 500,000+ fans who attend games, concerts, and special events each year have responded well to the variety and quality of our local products. It creates exciting new food and beverage offerings, and introduces our fans to local vendors they may not have known before,” said Jeff Calkins, General Manager of SMG and Blue Cross Arena.

President of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation Jim Trezise said, "As a native of Rochester and fan of the Amerks, I am especially pleased that this new partnership will feature local products, including wines from Casa Larga and Swedish Hill, which have both won dozens of Gold medals in major wine competitions around the country.  In my experience, Rochesterians root for the home team, including the local craft beverage producers and farmers, so this partnership will benefit those businesses as well as consumers and the arena itself.  We thank Governor Cuomo and Taste NY for putting this together.”  

Executive Director of the New York State Brewers Association Paul Leone said, "As the craft beverage industry continues to grow in New York State, the consumer demand seems to follow. With the Governor’s continued support, programs like Taste NY have allowed these small artisan producers to get their products in the hands of sports fans all across the state, and now we can add Rochester to that list.”

New York Cider Association Executive Director Jenn Smith said, "There is a special charm to drinking or eating something delicious that you know was made just down the road. By offering hyper-locally made Rootstock Cider to Americans’ fans and concert-goers visiting Rochester, the Taste NY concession is creating a sense of place at the Arena, as well as continuing Governor Cuomo’s work to develop the market for New York State craft beverages.”

Through strategic partnerships, participation in major events and the addition of Taste NY locations throughout the State, Taste NY producers nearly tripled sales last year from $4.5 million in 2015 to more than $13.1 million in 2016.  To further connect New York producers to new markets, Governor Cuomo has proposed expanding the sale of alcoholic beverages in certain venues to boost the State’s craft beverage industry.  He also proposed the launch of a first-ever New York Craft Beverage Week and a new grant for craft beverage producers to engage in joint marketing campaigns and enter products in national and international competitions.

In addition, Governor Cuomo’s 2017-2018 Executive Budget proposes a transformation of the Geneva visitors’ center into a state-of-the-art Finger Lakes tourism hub.  The 5,500 square foot Geneva Welcome Center will feature I Love NY Kiosks with videos and directions to the Finger Lakes renowned tourism destinations as well a Taste NY gift shop showcasing wine, beer, cider and spirits sourced from across the Finger Lakes.  To pay tribute to the Finger Lakes hometown and historical heroes, the state will also build a walk of fame leading up to the new welcome center, including George Eastman, Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Abby Wambach.

Accelerating Finger Lakes Forward
The partnership to bring Taste NY to Blue Cross Arena aligns with the region’s economic growth and community development strategy called “Finger Lakes Forward.”  To accelerate that plan, Governor Cuomo announced a $500 million investment in Finger Lakes Forward through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative in 2015.  The state’s $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion in the region.  The plan is also projected to bring 8,200 new jobs to the area. More information on Finger Lakes Forward is available here.

About Taste NY
Taste NY is an initiative launched by Governor Cuomo in 2013 to promote New York’s food and beverage industries. It is overseen by the Department of Agriculture and Markets and has created opportunities for local producers to showcase their goods at a variety of venues throughout the State and at large public events, such as the Great New York State Fair and the Barclays Tournament at Bethpage State Park.  

Over the last three years, the Taste NY initiative has seen steady growth and recognition. The program reported sales of $4.5 million in 2015 and nearly tripled those figures to more than $13.1 million in 2016. Today, New York products sold under Taste NY branding are available in more than 60 locations throughout the State as well as the New York State Office of Trade and Tourism in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

For more information about Taste NY, please visit Connect with Taste NY through FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest.

About Rochester Americans
Celebrating their historic 61st season, the Rochester Americans are the second-oldest franchise in the American Hockey League with a rich history that dates back over six decades. The Amerks have captured six Calder Cup championships since the team’s inception in 1956 and the organization also has the distinction of serving as the top developmental team for the National Hockey League’s Buffalo Sabres. The Sabres and Amerks are presently in their 35th season as working partners, which marks the longest active affiliation between an NHL club and its AHL counterpart.

2017 Press Releases