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Wine, beer, liquor growth industries in Hudson Valley

Ball, left, greetsAlliance members at the CIA

HYDE PARK – The art of craft brewing, wine making and spirit distillation is trending and becoming a growing industry in the Hudson Valley. To promote those local forms of agri-business, the Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation and Hudson Valley Food and Beverage Alliance held an event at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park where local wine makers, distillers and brewers could showcase their products.

Local craftsmen set up stalls in the Marriott Pavilion of the culinary school and provided tastings of products. Many of the owners of the local companies like Clinton Vineyards, Dutch’s Spirits and Slovenia Vodka were there to interact with the attendees and to educate them on their processes.

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard Ball said this is a rebirth of these crafts that will create promise for the region.

“It’s great to see a rebirth of this industry and it’s growing exponentially,” Ball said. “Every one of the sectors, whether it is wine, brewers, cideries, distilleries, the growth is in the 50 to 100 percent ranges all the time. So, we don’t really know what the top of the market is here, or the extent of the market but, as the local food movement has caught on, the local interest in all these products has grown, I think we’re really at the beginning of great things.”

The growth of these industries locally is creating a diverse spectrum of different, but related, products. Although the increase in new businesses is creating competition for veterans like Clinton Vineyards owner, Phyllis Feder, she says it’s really beneficial to the industry all around. “With the growth of so many distilleries and breweries, people have many more choices of places to go to. So everybody is not going to like beer, or like wine, they’ll go to where they want, they’ll have choices. That brings a lot of people to the area. It’s great for business, it’s great for tourism, it’s great for the restaurants. It’s good all around.”

An added bonus is the small operations in the Hudson Valley. Peter Kelley, owner of Slovenia Vodka, said that this makes the area unique and the products of high quality.

“What separates our products from others, I think, is the quality that goes into it,” Kelly said.  “These are really craft distilleries, craft cideries, craft breweries; these are not mass produced products. It’s the same as the quality of our produce and farms here. It’s all about quality, it’s not about production per say, it’s about quality.”

Link to article in MidHudsonNews.