Using Ingredients Native to Your Brewery’s Area

With so many breweries now available to consumers, it can be a challenge to stand out. Finding a way to stand out with local and homegrown ingredients has been a good way to use what’s around along with finding a marketing niche.

For Empire Brewing, not only did building a farm brewery created many new jobs in the Syracuse, New York area, but it is also helping to revitalize the agricultural aspect of this region.

Madison County was the hop capital of the country pre-prohibition, pointed out Emily Whalen of Empire.

“It’s an awesome story to tell,” she said. “We are the largest farm brewery on the East Coast and it important for us to show our consumers how beer is grown.”

On the West Coast, Dust Bowl Brewing in Turlock, California started brewing with local honey from Buzzin’ Apiaries out of nearby Gustine.

“We brewed Local Trouble Honey IPA with Orange Blossom honey and Medicina Honey Farmhouse Ale,” said Michelle Peterson, the Marketing and PR Director for Dust Bowl. “So far, these have only been available through our tap rooms, so the local aspect is relayed through the menus.”

Empire brews a Belgian Style unfiltered Wit called White Aphro, made with ginger, lemon peel and lavender.

The brewery is currently growing lavender on the farm to use for the beer on its 60-barrel system in Cazenovia, New York while they just harvested 400 pounds of Cascade from its two-acre hop field on the property for its Hop Harvest Ale. That beer is produced at the brewery’s smaller seven-barrel system in Syracuse where two runs are done with the estate hops.

Also, Deep Purple is a beer that is locally produced by Empire that has a Pilsner base with New York State Concord grapes added to it.

“It is dark purple in color, fruity, tart and dry and a huge grape aroma,” Whalen said. “People go wild for it. It’s awesome that it is our fall seasonal beer.”

It’s just another way that the brewery can tie into the consumer base of the area. While many breweries think fall with pumpkin, spices or a malty Marzen, Empire is catering to those in the area by using the resources around them.

“In Central New York, in the fall, Concord grapes are in their prime season,” Whalen said.

Apiary photo courtesy Empire Brewing.

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