Capital Region’s craft beverage industry grows despite pandemic

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COVID-19 didn’t dampen the spirit of the Capital Region’s craft beverage industry, which over the past two years has seen a 47.7% increase in active licenses for manufacturers.

As of August, the eight-county region had 164 actively licensed breweries, distilleries, wineries, cideries and meaderies.

That’s up from 111 that the Center for Economic Growth counted in 2019.

Among craft licenses, growth was strongest among breweries, with their ranks in the region increasing by 62%.

Distilleries also showed strong growth, increasing by 46% to 32.

The region also has 35 wineries, nine cideries and four meaderies.

The growth is also growing jobs. In Columbia County, breweries employed 141 workers in 2020 – a five-fold increase from 2016.

SUNY Schenectady recently launched a craft beer apprenticeship program, administered by the Center for Economic Growth.

Some of the region’s new craft beverage producers include Left Bank Ciders in Catskill, Bound by Fate Brewing in Schuylerville, the Bull and Bee Meadery in Albany and Old Factory Brewing in Cairo.