February 13 2024

Food & Beverage Drives MFG Establishment Growth in Capital Region

Food and beverage manufacturers have become the primary drivers of new employer establishments in the Capital Region’s manufacturing sector, according to a Center for Economic Growth (CEG) analysis of data from the New York State Department of Labor.

Nettle Meadow Farm (left), Old World Provisions (middle), Bilinski’s (right)


By the second quarter of 2023, the Capital Region had 205 food and beverage manufacturing establishments that employed 3,993 workers. That was an increase of 49 establishments (31.4 percent) and 722 employees (22.1 percent), when compared to before the pandemic in Q2 2019.Out of the state’s 10 economic development regions, the Capital Region has the fourth smallest food and beverage manufacturing industry, as measured by employment. Yet during that five-year period, the Capital Region’s food and beverage industry added the third most employer establishments (tie) and it surpassed Central New York in employment.

Food and beverage manufacturers driving employment growth in the Capital Region include Belgioioso Cheese and Adirondack Beverage, both in Glenville; Old World Provisions in Schenectady; and My FOREST Foods in Green Island. And on top of them is a multitude of new breweries, wineries, cideries and meaderies. The Capital Region now has more than 200 licenses for craft beverage producers that employ more than 700. That number of craft beverage licenses has nearly doubled over the last five years.

Frog Alley Brewing

Frog Alley Brewing

Wolf Hollow Brewing

Wolf Hollow Brewing



Independent contractors and other sole proprietors are also driving the growth of the Capital Region’s food and beverage manufacturing industry. As of 2020, the region had 219 food and beverage manufacturing nonemployer establishments – up 33.1 percent from five years earlier.

Over that five-year period, the region’s number of beverage manufacturing nonemployer establishments more than doubled (135.7 percent) to 33 and the number of food manufacturing nonemployer establishments increased by 21.6 percent to 186, according to U.S. Census Bureau Nonemployer Statistics.


County Distribution

Albany County has the region’s most food and beverage manufacturing nonemployer (49) and employer (33) establishments. While Saratoga County has the second most nonemployer establishments in these industries (41), Columbia County ranks second for employer establishments in these industries (32).

CEG Initiatives

As a New York State Manufacturing Enterprise Partnership, CEG is positioned to help Capital Region entrepreneurs and established businesses establish and scale food and beverage production operations. CEG’s services for food and beverage manufacturers include:

  • Operational Excellence (e.g., lean manufacturing)
  • Supply Chain
  • Industry 4.0 (e.g., automation/Artificial intelligence.)
  • Workforce Development
  • Leadership Development
  • Global Exporting
  • Quality (ISO)
  • Sales and Marketing


Don’t miss these insights into the trends that are shaping the Capital Region’s economy. 

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