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Bottoms up! State touts record number of breweries

New York State

New York residents love their beer. Now home to 400 breweries, the state has surpassed its previous record of 393 beer-making outlets back in 1876.

Ethan Cox, president of Community Beer Works on Lafayette Avenue in Buffalo, said he doesn’t believe the dramatic increase in micro-breweries will is a fad. Instead, he views it as a case of history repeating itself.

“I think it’s something that’s here to stay,” Cox told WBFO. “It’s not really as much of a new trend as it is areturn to what once was. In the United States prior to prohibition and prior to the rise of industrialization and consolidation of breweries. There really were a lot of smaller breweries around."

Breweries in Western New York are thriving. Cox said local breweries have increased from five in 2012 to nearly 30 today. And he said it doesn’t stop there.

“There’s a lot more coming still. As far as I know, at least in the Buffalo area, there’s at least six or seven in planning.”

Cox believes breweries are an important component of the local economy. He added that some colleges are even adding brewing classes to their curriculums.

“There are brewery programs, or brewery industry service programs, let’s call them broadly, already in place at ECC, NCCC, at Trocaire.  And then across the river in Niagara Falls, Canada, there is a full-on brewing school.”

In a recent news release, Governor Cuomo said the state deserves some credit in growing the industry.

“Once one of the largest producers of beer in the country, New York continues to lower the costs of business by modernizing laws and rolling back red tape to restore the Empire State as the standing leader in the craft beer manufacturing industry,” Cuomo said. “The enormous growth New York’s craft beverage sector has experienced in recent years is a testament to the innovation, entrepreneurship and hard work of our brewers  who are creating jobs, driving tourism, helping our local farms, and instilling pride in every corner of the state.”

Officials in Albany said the brewing industry has contributed $4 billion to the state’s economy and continues to grow.

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