County's Craft Beverage Industry Showcased at Chamber Tour
Three dozen Livingston County business owners and local tourism industry professionals gathered last week to tour five micro-breweries and meet the people driving the County’s rapidly growing craft beverage industry. The event was the 16th in a series of annual Chamber of Commerce sponsored county-wide “FAM” tours.
Inside the tourism industry, a “FAM” tour is the working abbreviation for a “Familiarization Tour”. The goal of the tour is to increase and create awareness of local business in the region that results in new opportunities for both the hosts (bring new visitors) and those already working with our visitors (to have more exciting offerings). This year’s tour was designed to feature the local craft beverage options now available in the county, and to inform local tourism professionals and hotel front-line staff of the many excellent breweries and cider works they can now recommend to guests.
The first stop on the FAM Tour of Livingston County’s burgeoning craft beverage industry was OSB Ciderworks in Lakeville. It was a fitting first stop as OSB was the first company to open, as a result (in part) of the County office of Economic Development’s ambitious, “Brew in Livingston” campaign. The campaign started with 40 applicants, and the goal was to establish a critical mass of craft beverage locations (companies) enabling a true tour loop inside the county. Through an extensive process of developing and pitching their business plans, companies were selected by the Office of Economic Development for support through expertise and financial incentives.
OSB Ciderworks opened in the spring of 2016 and according to co-founder Eric Smith has produced over 40 different cider varieties. The group sipped small samples of these unique ciders while learning the production process, company philosophy, its history, and future plans. All stops on the FAM tour would follow this format. The group learned that OSB stands for Original Stump Blower, a humorous family name for the early hard ciders developed before the company existed. OSB can be enjoyed at the cidery and is also on tap in over 100 regional restaurants and bars.
The second stop was the soon to be opened, No BS Brew Company in Livonia, nestled off the north end of Conesus Lake on Bronson Hill Road. This brand new facility still under construction, was represented by co-owner Steve Gray who said their name comes from a combination of Steve and partner Ben Noragong’s names. They are incorporating some beautiful old woodwork into the tasting room and hoping for a grand opening before the start of the new year.
The third stop was Battle Street Brewery in Dansville. This spectacular facility was a labor of love for owners Tom and Doug Acomb, who wanted to restore an 1880’s railroad station that had fallen into disrepair and that was in real danger of being torn down. The facility remains beautifully true to its roots as they kept many of the original design elements including both ticket booths (freight and passenger), period history pieces that decorate the walls, and the retention of the overall feel & look of a train station. In keeping with the travel theme, the bar’s front is made of actual old suitcases that passed through the depot and the foot rail is an actual piece of railroad track. They have indoor and outdoor seating and a game room in the back. They constantly change their on-tap selection including a cider from OSB, and they also offer a selection of bar snacks from the kitchen.
The fourth stop was the newly opened Mortalis Brewing company in Avon located in the Commercial park behind the John Deere dealership off Route 15. Mortalis showcases the variety of Livingston County’s craft beverage operations, as they went in an entirely different direction with a decor that showcases the production process and the associated chrome and stainless steel of the equipment. They have also chosen to infuse unique ingredients into some of their beers like coconut and cookies for the adventurous taster. Their stated goal is to invite guests intimately into the brewery and let them directly experience with all five senses, the fun, art, and craft of the brewing experience.
The fifth and final stop on the tour was Dublin Corners Farm Brewery in Linwood, in the town of York. They were the second facility to open in November 2016 as part of the “Brew in Livingston” campaign. A true farm brewery experience! Dublin Corners is located on the Grant family farm, and is operated by the 4th and 5th generation living across the driveway. Guests can walk out the front door into the actual hop yard to see the climbing bines of hops (a key ingredient for making beer). The group learned that the operation has expanded from three to five beers and they will soon be commissioning a new expanded brewing system. They indicated a nice mix of locals and tourists make up their clientele and that they enjoy regularly hosting music and events at the brewery.
The FAM tour made its way between stops thanks to a generous transportation sponsorship from Anytime Coach Lines, located in Avon. The large luxury motor coach enabled the business owners, tourism professionals, and local hoteliers the opportunity to talk to each other after each stop about respective business models, the clientele they are hoping to attract, and the type of atmosphere they are trying to create.
The Livingston County Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism is the official tourism promotion agency (TPA) for the county.
Media Contact: Elissa Leuer, Director of Tourism & Marketing
585-243-2222 ext. 226 or Elissa@LivingstonCountyChamber.com