Drink NY Craft: New Delivery Company Aims To Match ‘Beer Geeks’ With Hard-To-Find Beers
Have you ever heard of a cool new beer but couldn’t find it?
A new venture based in New York’s Central Regional Market aims to connect New York craft beer consumers with beers from many of the state’s smaller and more remote brewers.
“We’ll be there to connect you,” said Chad Meigs, owner of Drink New York Craft. “More New York State beers for New York State drinkers.”
Drink New York Craft will offer ordering and shipping online, responding to what Meigs says is demand that has increased during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The company will fill a gap in the beer distribution network, said Meigs, who also owns The Bineyard, a hop growing and processing business in Cazenovia and has experience in e-commerce.
Large brewing companies and even many of the larger craft brewers use traditional distributors, which buy from breweries and sell to retailers like stores and bars. It is regulated by the federal “three tier” distribution system.
Small craft brewers typically sell most of their beer in their own stores and tasting rooms, and only occasionally provide a nearby bar or store.
Meanwhile, it has been common for years for savvy craft beer aficionados to seek out prized beers from these small to mid-sized brewers, sometimes traveling great distances and queuing up long for a special outing.
But the pandemic meant fewer drinkers were venturing into tasting rooms or traveling for a beer.
“Covid changed everything,” Meigs said, “before Covid, most small brewers sold almost everything in-house, in their taprooms. It’s starting to be a little different now.
Even so, Drink New York Craft will be something of a niche. It has a rare state “Class C” license, which allows it to operate as both a wholesaler and a retailer. It will focus primarily on specialty and limited beers, rather than the bestsellers from each brewery.
“We’re likely to have fewer flagships (top sellers) and more unique or seasonal products,” Meigs said. “It will definitely be a variety.”
And, for now, it will only offer beers from New York breweries, and will only sell and ship within the state.
“This focus on New York breweries is really great,” said Paul Leone, executive director of the New York State Brewers Association. “Anything that raises the profile of our brewers and our beers is very good for the industry. “
The commercial site launched this week with a handful of breweries supplying beers ranging from lagers and cream ales to sour and cask aged stout. Meigs plans to add more breweries soon.
Here’s a look at the starter brewery lineup and some of the beers they offer:
· Lunkenheimer Brewing of Weedsport: Beers include Blood Orange Kolsch; Lunktoberfest (an Oktoberfest); and exit 40 Pale Ale.
· Pantomime Hector’s Mixtures on Seneca Lake: This brewery specializes in mixed fermentation beers aged in barrels. These include Technicolor Dreamcoat, a wild yeast beer with apricots and peaches; and Bittner Creek, a Belgian-style kriek (cherry beer).
· Willow rock Syracuse Brewery: Beers include the modern retro Congress Lager, Hoi Hoi Hoi! (a German Märzen beer), its hard Leaf seltzer; Mister Zero (a New England IPA); and several of the brewery’s Leaf hard seltzers.
· Kingston Standard Brewing in the Hudson Valley: The beers include a Pale Ale; a sour IPA; and Geuzette, a Belgian lambic.
· Hopshire Farm & Brewery in Dryden near Ithaca: The beers include a Honey Ale; Zingabier (a Belgian-style beer); and Frisky Imp, an imperial stout aged in cask.
· Underground beer laboratory from the east of Syracuse: Beers include One of My Kind IPA and Sublime Attractions Pilsner.
Beers in the Drink New York Craft line start at around $ 2 per can or bottle (and you can buy any of the beers as a single as well as 4 or 6 packs and cases). They go up to $ 20 a bottle or more for some aged or stronger beers. The current shipping rate is $ 10, which means the more you buy, the better the shipping offer.
Meigs keeps the beers in coolers at its location among the regional market produce warehouses, where it also has an office. He packs the beers in special packaging to keep the cold out and expects the shipment to take no more than a few days.
Rockney Roberts, co-owner of Willow Rock Brewing, hopes his partnership with Drink New York Craft will expose his beers to more consumers. Willow Rock recently poured beers at a brewery party in Buffalo, and attendees asked where they could. But the Syracuse Brewery currently has no outlets in western New York.
“I think it’s a great way for people to find beers that they wouldn’t be able to buy otherwise,” said Roberts. noted. “Especially the hard-to-get limited versions. It gives someone in Buffalo, for example, a chance to try a beer they wouldn’t normally get their hands on.
Learn more about beer and brewing in CNY:
A new craft brewery opens in Marcellus. It’s the 21 in Onondaga County
CNY’s long-awaited ‘Brewseum’ of beer history finds a home in Pompey
The New Central New York brewery is small, secluded, and experimental
Don Cazentre writes about craft beer, wine, spirits and beverages for NYup.com, syracuse.com and The Post-Standard. Reach it at [email protected], or follow him on NYup.com, to Twitter Where Facebook.