LIVINGSTON COUNTY – Livingston County Economic Development opened a survey, accessible here, to gauge interest in a contest and award program to grow more breweries to the region, intending to eventually blossom into a local brew trail.
According to a press release from Livingston County Economic Development, four entrepreneurs with their eyes on new brewing businesses will win prizes valued at more than $600,000 as part of the contest, called ‘Brew in Livingston.’ The contest Facebook page is accessible here.
“The craft beer movement continues to thrive across New York State,” points out Bill Bacon, Director of Economic Development for Livingston County. “The industry is creating jobs and strengthening local economies.”
Heather Grant, Grants and Public Information Coordinator for Livingston County and co-owner of Dublin Corners Farm Brewery in Linwood, said that she would like her brewery to participate but is unsure whether it will be eligible due to the potential for a conflict of interests. Dublin Corners is not yet open for business but is registered as part of the Finger Lakes Beer Trail and is currently growing hop crops.
The contest is in its earliest planning stages. Livingston County Development is not sure who will be on the judges’ panel.
“We’re really in the very early planning stages,” said Wheeler. “The funds that we are applying for would be announced in December if awarded, so we are working between now and then to get everything ready. Existing breweries are eligible to apply, assuming their plan includes an expansion. They can not apply simply for working capital to continue their current operation as is and they will not be able to use awarded funds to reimburse past equipment purchases.”
Livingston County Development cited Brewers Association reports that the craft brewing industry contributed $55.7 billion to the U.S. economy in 2014, that New York State was ranked fourth in the nation with $2.9 billion in output, and that in the past five years, the Finger Lakes Beer Trail has grown from 24 members to more than 100.
Livingston County Development pointed out that only one registered stop of the Finger Lakes Beer Trail is located in Livingston County. That would be Dublin Corners. The other closest stops are CB Craft Brewers in Honeyoe Falls, Monroe County and the soon-to-open Silver Lake Brewing Project in Perry, Wyoming County.
“We’re in the heart of the Finger Lakes Region,” said Bacon. “we should have a few more stops along that trail.”
It is anticipated that four equal prize packages will be awarded, including: grant funds to be used towards the purchase of furniture, fixtures and equipment; loan funds with a 1% interest rate; business coaching sessions; legal assistance with licensing; design assistance with brand; ribbon cutting ceremony; one year free membership with the Livingston County Area Chamber of Commerce; and marketing assistance as part of the Livingston County Craft Beer Trail.
“We’re working to secure funding which will allow us to offer the anticipated prize packages, but we need to show that there is enough interest in the contest,” says Bacon. “The more people that take the survey, the better prize packages we can build.”