October 13, 2017




Beer, Wine and Spirits Summit held

Potter: “The Hudson Valley is perfect"

HYDE PARK – Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro and well-known craft brewing entrepreneur Tom Potter championed the county’s food and beverage industry at the 5th Annual Hudson Valley Beer, Wine, Spirits and Cider Summit held at the CIA in Hyde Park on Thursday.

Current statistics say that 50 percent of U.S. food dollars go to restaurants and over 10 percent of the workforce employs people in the food and beverage industry, but the Hudson Valley particularly has a little more going for it.

Molinaro said although government is always ready to push for large businesses in other industries with large numbers of employees, the future of economic survival will be in the hands of small businesses, particularly small businesses that have a stake in the sentiment of a community. In Dutchess and the greater Hudson Valley’s case, those businesses are likely within the food and beverage, specifically craft beverage, industry.

“When you grow one, or two, jobs you’re making a measurable difference in a community,” said Molinaro. “When you open up an establishment, when you turn an old farm into a new innovator, creator, it creates wealth. It creates opportunity. It creates growth and it helps grow community and that’s the story that we think needs to be told over, and over and over again.”

 “There’s a very strong connection between craft products, craft beverages especially, and place,” said Potter. “For those of us in the craft segment, one of the most important things we can do is get our customers to come to where we make our stuff, right?”

Potter, who is the co-founder and owner of New York Distilling Company, as well as the co-founder and former owner of Brooklyn Brewery, said if there’s a doubt in the minds of people looking to open a craft beverage operation within Hudson Valley, within Dutchess, that there’s no better time than now. With resources like the Cornell Horticulture program, the black dirt region in Orange and the abundance of aesthetically pleasing locations, a huge factor within the craft beverage economy as it relies on tourism and visitation, there’s opportunity that surrounding states just do not have access to.

“The Hudson Valley is perfect," said Potter. "It’s exactly what the consumer wants. We liked it so much, that we hooked up with Jason and Jeremy at Warwick Valley and when they separated their distilling off and created Black Dirt Distilling, we were their first partners. We wanted to produce there. We’ve been producing our whiskey there now for the last three years. In fact, we probably need more space and our first choice is the Hudson Valley.”

In Dutchess, out of the two million annual visitors, their spending consists of 15 percent of dollars spent within the county, an increase of 15 percent and it amounts to over $500 million dollars annually, in conjunction with tourism. It makes the food and beverage industry, with tourism, the largest economy in Dutchess.


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