November 15 2019

Producers Pour into Capital Region’s Craft Beverage Industry

Craft beverage producers continue to pour into the Capital Region, with the number of breweries, distilleries, wineries, cideries and meaderies throughout the eight counties increasing by 22 percent since the Center for Economic Growth’s last survey of the industry in fall 2017.

Industry Growth

As of mid-October, there were 111 craft beverage producers with active wholesale licenses throughout the region, according to a CEG analysis of data from the New York State Liquor Authority. That included 52 breweries, 22 distilleries, 30 wineries, six cideries and one meadery*. On top of that there were 16 craft beverage whole licenses pending, including those for 12 breweries, two wineries, one distillery and one meadery.

County Distribution

In the region, Albany County had the most breweries (10), Columbia County had the most cideries (3), Saratoga County had the most wineries (8) and Albany and Columbia counties were tied for the most distilleries (5).


Craft beverage manufacturing is one of the fastest-growing industries in the Capital Region’s creative economy. According to EMSI, among the region’s breweries, distilleries and wineries 42 were payrolled business locations with 377 employees in 2018. There was an additional 94 self-employed and freelance workers, bringing total craft beverage workforce to 431. That was 224 percent more workers than five years earlier.

CEG Activities

On top of creating jobs, the craft beverage industry is important to the Capital Region by providing a multitude of destinations for residents, tourists and talent living elsewhere in the country. To support the craft beverage industry’s growth, CEG is involved in the following activities:

Regional Branding Initiative: CEG is partnering with business and community leaders, to launch a regional branding initiative to raise the Capital Region’s profile as a 1-million-strong metro region with distinct competitive advantages, including strategic location, educational assets, cultural vibrancy, innovation, recreational opportunities, affordability and livability.

Business Growth Solutions (BGS): Leveraging its status as a Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP center), CEG is assisting local craft beverage producers, such as Albany Distilling, by improving their ability to make sales (Sandler Leadership Training and Sandler Customized Reinforcement Selling), reach foreign markets (ExporTech), utilize Lean Accounting, and obtain National Grid and Workforce Development Institute grants for training and equipment.


* Producers categorized by primary craft beverage license type. When there are more than one license type, the primary craft beverage type is the one suggested by the producer’s name.


Don’t miss these insights into the trends that are shaping the Capital Region’s economy. Sign up for CEG’s e-news and follow us on:

Funding Partners