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Brew Central: NY State Grant Boosts Ad Campaign for the Local Beer and Spirits Industry

(7/10/15 – syracuse.com) A New York-state funded effort to promote the booming brewing industry between Syracuse and Albany is back this year, with more money to brand the region as "America's Craft Brew Destination."

Brew Central has a new $500,000 grant through Empire State Development's "I Love NY" tourism promotion.

That will pay for a campaign that produces videos, creates print and digital ads, and operates a web site -- brewcentralny.com.

The object is to lure visitors to the dozens of breweries, hard cider makers and hard liquor distillers in places like Syracuse, Utica, Binghamton and Cooperstown and points in between. The region covered extends as far east as Schoharie County.

The promotional effort is co-sponsored by the county and regional tourism bureaus in the area, including Visit Syracuse (formerly the Syracuse Convention and Visitors Bureau).

"This taps into the growing popularity of people visiting breweries," said Nikita Jankowski, a communications director for Visit Syracuse. "You're seeing more people follow the beer trails."

Last year, Brew Central had $30,000 for its media campaign.

One of the results of the new infusion of money is a redesigned and enhanced web site, said Sean Faulkner, an account executive for ABC Creative Group, the Syracuse-based agency that produces the content for the Brew Central campaign. It will also pay for new banner ads for digital media, and a new set of videos.

At least 12 new locations will be added to Brew Central's portfolio of videos, which allow brewers, cideries and distilleries to tell their own stories.

The ABC Creative team stopped in last week to the Empire Brewing Co.'s brewpub at 120 Walton St. in Armory Square. The crew interviewed Tim Butler, Empire's director of brewing operations.

"Central New York has a lot of great beer, and we're happy to be a big part of that," Butler said as he prepared for the video shoot.

Several upcoming videos will be shot in the Cazenovia area, focusing on beer and the other beverages included in Brew Central's campaign: Those stops include Harvest Moon Cidery (Critz Farms), a hard apple cider maker; Life of Reilley, a hard spirits distiller; and the still-under-construction Empire Farmstead Brewery.

The region covered by Brew Central currently has more than 40 breweries, cideries, distilleries and wineries -- and even a meadery (mead is a honey-based alcohol beverage). Beer-makers are the largest segment. More companies making all those beverages are on the way.

"There doesn't seem to be any slowdown in the brewery boom that's going on," ABC Creative's Faulkner said.

Here is a video for 1911 Spirits (Beak & Skiff Apple Farms), produced by ABC Creative for Brew Central last year: