The HVADC Cultivator
HVADC Client Spotlight:
Catskill Brewery was founded by Randy Lewis, Ramsay Adams, and Kirt Gunn in Livingston Manor, New York, a hamlet in Sullivan County known as the birthplace of dry fly-fishing and home of the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum.
Catskill Brewery uses only the best ingredients in its beer, combined with pure Catskill mountain water and sustainable practices. To make this beer, the partners built a brewery that paid homage to the pristine environment that provides both the water for local trout fishing and the water used to brew Catskill Brewery’s beers. The brewery is a Gold LEED certified building and it’s powered by energy from the sun and earth. The mission of Catskill Brewery is to make great beer while protecting their home in the Catskill Mountains. In addition, consistent with New York’s Farm Brewery laws, Catskill Brewery uses local ingredients, like hops and barley grown by New York farmers.
Since it began selling beer in 2014, Catskill Brewery has experienced significant growth, due to the increasing popularity of craft beer generally and customer appreciation for the quality of beers made by Catskill Brewery. To fulfill this increasing demand for its products, Catskill Brewery has had to invest in new equipment to continually increase its production capacity. To help finance these investments, Catskill Brewery reached out to HVADC through its funding partner, Sullivan County Funding Corporation. Working with HVADC’s Incubator Without Walls program consultant Brian Zweig, founder and principal of Business Opportunities Management Consulting, Sullivan County applied for funding from the USDA’s Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG) program. This program provides grants to counties that can be made available in the form of equipment leases to finance business expansion projects.
Sullivan County first applied for RBDG funding on behalf of Catskill Brewery in 2016 and the USDA awarded the County $124,260 for providing lease financing to the brewery in support of expanding the business’s capacity. In the years that followed, Catskill Brewery continued to grow and saw the opportunity to grow again. HVADC then worked with Sullivan County to provide additional funding through the RBDG program to support additional equipment acquisition needed to further expand production at the brewery. In 2017, the USDA provided $314,420 in funding and another $133,000 was awarded in 2018.
In total, HVADC and Sullivan County were able to provide over $570,000 in lease financing, which allowed Catskill Brewery to make major investments in increasing production capacity to meet customer demand for its beer. Not only did this expansion help Catskill Brewery grow its sales and profits, but these investments also were a boon to Sullivan County’s economy, which has struggled in recent years. Once the home to mountain resorts, Sullivan County is now attracting visitors to a number of new craft beverage producers. In addition to Catskill Brewery, HVADC has worked with other craft beverage producers in Sullivan County, including Prohibition Distillery, Catskill Distilling, Roscoe Beer and Seminary Hill Ciders. These businesses use ingredients from local farms and they attract visitors to the region, thereby creating jobs and stimulating the local economy in Sullivan County.
“We’ve had great success working with Randy and the Catskill Brewery” commented consultant Zweig. “Catskill Brewery and the other new craft beverage producers in Sullivan County have given tourists a new reason to visit the Catskills,” added Zweig. Saying that with craft beverage ventures such as Catskill Brewery also buying increasing amounts of locally grown ingredients, that’s also good news for New York farmers, as well.
Lewis also reflected on the impact that the Brewery’s success has had, saying that “going back to the time that the partners hatched the plan to build the brewery, the spirit in their decision making was to have the greatest positive impact on the local economy. I think we can safely say that the goal was achieved and is evident in the continued revitalization of not only Livingston Manor but also throughout Sullivan County. Catskill Brewery certainly cannot take of all the credit as there were others that came before us and some that followed, all of them playing their part in what we believe has been precedent setting rejuvenation of a small rural community.”
For more information about HVADC’s Incubator Without Walls program, please visit https://www.hvadc.org/iww.
Photo Source: Catskill Brewery