Beer: $4.5B Industry in Upstate NY & Shmaltz Brewing, A Growing Local Success

The Business of Beer - November 1st at Shmaltz Brewing Co.

Upstate Capital hosted The Business of Beer at Shmaltz Brewing Company. The event brought together members of the business and entrepreneurial communities to discuss access to capital for a company looking to move from $1M in revenue to $10M and beyond. The discussion highlighted Jeremy Cowan’s 21-year-old brewing company, and extended to financing insights valuable for all kinds of companies. 

The gathering was intimate and guests were invited to enjoy Shmaltz’s line up of beers on tap. Noa Simons, Executive Director of Upstate Capital, introduced the evening: “Business and beer: two of my favorite things.”

Paul Leone, Executive Director of the New York State Brewers Association, spoke about industry trends and the future of the craft beer industry in New York. Currently, the total economic impact of craft beer in New York is $4.5B. Leone was quick to explain that craft beer is not a trend: he expects this number to continue to increase. He noted that in the 1870s, New York State had 393 breweries, the most ever recorded. Currently, there are 375 breweries, up from 175 in 2013, with a new brewery coming online every 10 days currently. 

Jeremy Cowan spoke about his company’s history. Beginning in 1996 with one beer, the company is now distributed in 37 states and ranked 118th in production volume for US craft breweries out of 5,700 nationwide. Since the opening of his brewery, Cowan contracts out beer for at least five different companies in a year, including an Indian Pale Ale for Stewart’s Shops. Growing the business took stages. According to Cowan, “The growth comes in steps.” Each step requiring different and personalized funding methods. 

Cowan spoke with a panel of industry leaders about the different options available for financing future growth. Todd Tidgewell, a partner at Nixon Peabody, moderated a conversation with Rob Nichols, Senior Vice President of Commercial Banking at KeyBank and Randy Bianchi, Managing Partner at Lakelet Capital, who shared differences between requirements and criteria for various kinds of capital for funding growth. 

Finally, guests attended a tour of the Shmaltz brewery and learned about production details for the operation in Clifton Park.

Upstate Capital connects investors across the capital stack to opportunities across New York state. Through regular events, and educational content, we connect, educate and celebrate the people building businesses in Upstate New York, because businesses are built on relationships and knowledge.

Join us at our next event: Ambrell: A Private Equity Success in Rochester on November 15th. 




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