NYS Beer Trail: Upstate Brewing Company

HORSEHEADS, N.Y. - The craft beverage industry has taken off over the last few years as microbreweries have been popping up all over New York State.

We bring you one that's been open since before the recent explosion in the number of craft breweries.

"The laws changing in 2014 made a world of difference.  Without that, I don't know if we'd be around at this point," said Upstate Brewing Company President Mark Neumann.

In 2012, Mark Neumann moved back to his hometown in Horseheads to open a craft brewery.

Upstate Brewing Company was born, but had some trouble taking off because of state regulations.

At the time Upstate was only allowed to offer samples and fill growlers, but that soon changed.

In 2014, the state changed regulations to allow all breweries to sell pints.

"Once that changed in 2014, we could have people hang out here, spend more time here and spend more money here," said Neumann.

Since then, he's renovated and expanded his tap room twice and he's been able to distribute to Rochester, Binghamton, Elmira, and even New York City featuring his best seller Common Sense, a Kentucky Common.

Even though he's competing to be the best, he wants to see the industry succeed by helping those who are getting started.

"We've been here to help a ton of breweries and we've gotten a lot of help ourselves. That's the only way. I can't go buy a bag of crystal 40 malt at Wegmans," said Neumann.

As brewers back their fellow beer-makers, New York State is helping the effort by showcasing what our area has to offer to the rest of the craft beer-craving country.

Judi Hess, Director of Visit Binghamton, administered through the Binghamton Convention and Visitors Bureau, has also established Brew Central, a website where travelers and locals can plan their trips to local breweries and wineries.

"It's definitely impactful. It's something that local people get to enjoy and take part in, but it's definitely a draw for people outside of the area," said Hess. 

As more breweries pop up across the state, Neumann hopes Upstate Brewing becomes a stop along the way.

"Nothing on 86 itself may be a destination. With more breweries and other destinations coming along the way, that definitely makes a difference," said Neumann.

Neumann says more work can be done, like streamlining paperwork and cutting red tape.

But, for the time being, he appreciates the spotlight being on Upstate.


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