ALBANY – The Albany County Legislature recently approved a $40,000 contract for Discover Albany to market and promote an Albany County Beverage Trail. The funding, included in the County Legislature’s 2023 adopted budget, is the second round of funding in a multi-step plan to highlight the county’s craft beverage producers.
Initial funding of $30,000 was approved in the fall to launch the initiative and create wayfinding signs.
“The craft beverage industry is an asset to our county, and as it continues to grow, it will help foster additional economic development, revenue, tourism and jobs, while providing more opportunities for Albany County residents to spend their money in their own neighborhoods,” Albany County Legislature Chairman Andrew Joyce said in a release.
According to Empire State Development, New York is home to 462 breweries, 186 distilleries and 72 cideries. An August 2021 Center for Economic Growth (CEG) survey revealed 164 actively licensed breweries, cideries, wineries, distilleries and meaderies in the Capital District, with an additional 14 pending. At least 33 of those are located in Albany County, according to CEG.
Mike Bellini, owner of The Real McCoy Beer Company in Delmar, said it is important for his brewery to be a part of initiatives like this, and that they will participate because of its location on Hallwood Avenue in Delmar and proximity to the Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail.
“We’ll certainly benefit from any marketing efforts,” he said.
Albany County Legislator Matthew Peter was equally enthusiastic about the project.
“I’m excited to see what the future holds for the Albany County Beverage Trail, this investment is only the beginning,” he said.
Discover Albany, the designated tourism promotion agency for Albany County, will oversee website development, physical marketing materials and an online marketing campaign for the Trail, according to Discover Albany President Jill Delaney.
“We are about two weeks into the estimated 90 days it takes to build a trail like this with online sales and promotion,” she said.
Delaney added that the marketing campaign will target markets inside and outside Albany County.
“Our marketing and promotions will draw attention to the abundance of incredible craft beverage producers right here in Albany County, driving more visitors to their doors, while cementing Albany County’s place as a growing Agritourism destination,” she said.
Greg Wilhelm, general manager at Fidens Brewing Company in Colonie said this promotion dovetails with the company’s expansion into the City of Albany.
“We’re looking forward to being a part of the Albany County Beverage Trail when our tasting room opens,” he said.
The downtown Albany location is slated to open in June.
Other craft beverage producers contacted are interested in supporting the beverage trail and will learn more as the program is rolled out.
At this time, it is unknown what additional benefits the beverage trail will offer craft producers, particularly those who are members of the Capital Craft Beverage Trail.
According to its website, that trail was founded in 2015 to “promote the craft and farm-based beverage producers in the Capital Region of New York State.”
The county will provide more detailed information in coming weeks.