I live in a border town and follow upstate New York news daily. These days, it's all about cuts to programs for the vulnerable, cuts to colleges and new fees for things like a new license plate whether you need one or not. But there was money for one grant:
The state government last week awarded $800,000 to the Brooklyn Brewery to jump-start their $6.5 million expansion in Williamsburg. The company, along with its signature Brooklyn brands of ale, lager and beer, is converting 13,500 square feet of vacant distribution space into a beer fermentation facility, and increasing brewing capacity from 8,000 to 50,000 barrels per year. The plant is located at 79 North 11th Street. The grant came from a competitive process, yielding a total first-round $7.8 million that will eventually total $35 million to revitalize the downstate area, and grow the job and tax base.
Now, I like the Brooklyn Brewery as much as the next guy. I have a couple of Local 1's calling to me from the stash right now. Can't you hear them? And it is good that this project will assist in creating 15 full-time jobs with benefits. But I would hope that as part of building a beer culture and doing so with public money in a hard time that craft beer responds in kind. I would hope that there might be a lot less of the warnings of how we consumers all have to make sure we pony up when materials costs go up only to receive vague hand waving when they go down. A bit less of the "craft beer is under priced, a bit less of the exclusivity and a bit more thanks and right back at'cha to the public that make the careers of craft brewers possible by buying their good beer...not to mention providing some of the funding their capital expansions.