The Southern Tier Brewing Company will sell even more beer statewide if U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer's new marketing campaign works.
Schumer, D-N.Y., has launched a ''I Love NY Brew'' campaign to place more locally brewed New York beer in New York City, and in state restaurants, bars and convenience stores. Schumer wants to expand New York brewers' market share so businesses can grow to hire more employees. The brewing business in the state supports nearly 60,000 jobs.
In a letter to the National Association of Convenience Stores and Fuel Retailing and the state Restaurant Association, Schumer urged both associations to offer more beer brewed at the 77 micro-breweries, regional craft breweries and brewpubs across the state. Schumer said pushing New York-brewed beer onto convenience store shelves and restaurants in major cities like New York would be a major step forward for an industry that pumps billions of dollars into the state's economy each year.
Customers at The Empty Pint at Southern Tier Brewing Company, 2072 Stoneman Circle, Lakewood, enjoy a beer.
P-J photo by Dennis Phillips
Southern Tier Brewing Company beer can be found at Wegmans and throughout the state in restaurants, bars and convenience stores.
P-J photo by Dennis Phillips
Nathan Arnone, Southern Tier Brewing Company media representative, said the Lakewood business has had solid distribution throughout the state since the company started in 2002.
''We love New York. It has been great,'' he said. ''It continues to be one of our strongest. New York City has been really good to us. Albany, Buffalo and all areas have been really good. We are distributed throughout the entire state.''
Arnone said there is a three-layered system to how Southern Tier beer is distributed. First the brewery sells the beer to distributors who then sell to restaurants, bars and convenience stores.
''Getting New York beers on convenience store shelves and in local menus would help pour jobs into New York's breweries.''
Sen. Charles Schumer
''The senator wants to raise awareness that there are a lot of good brewers in the state for restaurants are bars to be aware of and ask for. Of course, gas stations and convenience stores, too,'' Arnone said.
Arnone said getting into bars and smaller restaurants is easier for Southern Tier. He said it is more difficult to get into chain restaurants. However, the brewery is sold at TGI Friday's in Buffalo.
''As far as where the beer goes, we leave that up to the distributors. They can choose,'' he said. ''If more people are asking, made aware of and reminded of us, then we sell more beer. The more beer they (distributors) order from us, the more we can deduce that they are selling it to more clients.''
Arnone said almost immediately after starting statewide distribution, Southern Tier entered the New York City market.
''There are so many beer drinkers in New York accustomed to craft beers,'' he said. ''There are so many outlets with tons and tons of restaurants and neighborhood beer bars in the city. It was pretty easy once we got into them. We're always sending trucks to New York City.''
Arnone said he never gets tired of seeing Southern Tier beer when traveling throughout the state.
''I'm always happy to see our beer on convenience and gas station shelves when I'm out of the area. It is cool to be able to see that,'' he said.
As part of Schumer's campaign, the state Brewers Association will be providing promotional material, on behalf of its members, to restaurants and convenience stores to help boost awareness of locally brewed beer in hopes of increasing sales.
''Getting New York beers on convenience store shelves and in local menus would help pour jobs into New York's breweries,'' Schumer said. ''Our local breweries provide good-paying jobs and help draw tourists and visitors to the Empire State - I'm going to do everything I can to help them grow and expand even further.''