Newburgh Brewing Company has partnered with Whole Foods to release NewYorkBoss IPA, a beer made with 100% New York State ingredients. The brew will debut at Stone Barns on Thursday, March 1, for an event called, “Crafting the Future of Beer.”
NewYorkBoss incorporates hops from Pedersen Hop Farm in the Finger Lakes region and malt from Hudson Valley Malt. The resulting beer will have a robust flavor with traces of citrus and pine.
“For whatever reason, beer being produced locally is where people stop their search,” says Christopher Basso, Brewmaster at Newburgh Brewing Company. “At the end of the day, the only thing local in most beers is the water.”
Of course, Basso appreciates the economic stimulus and jobs that local business cultivates. However, he says, “As far as the ingredients for beer, I think we’re just at the beginning of seeing that movement really take off.”
At the moment, demand for these ingredients far exceeds regional supply.
“You couldn’t possibly use all New York State hops at this stage in the game,” says Basso. “When we opened five years ago, there was almost nobody pelletizing hops. And that’s how you’re primarily going to use them as a craft brewery.”
In this way, NewYorkBoss is ahead of its time; it’s in brewers’ best interest to favor local purveyors, as the industry is fated to shift in that direction. Those producers registered as farm breweries must already adhere to New York State regulations regarding production. Currently, 20% of ingredients must be grown in state. This will jump to 60% in 2019, and 90% starting in 2024.
Limited release brews like NewYorkBoss also drive market competition and experimentation. One of the biggest mistakes breweries can make at this stage in the game is to rest on their laurels.
“It’s become the whole state of the industry now — for beer particularly,” says Chris Manca, Local Coordinator for Whole Foods. “That’s how you keep up is just constantly releasing new beers.”
“It’s keeping the whole industry on their toes,” says Reagan Fahy, Whole Foods’ Local Buyer. “I think the point of craft beer is to be flexible, to be innovative, to bring out new flavors.”
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Though craft beer is always in flux, one thing is certain: The days of microbreweries exploding into national brands are over.
“There will not be a Brooklyn Brewery again,” says Paul Halayko, Chief Operating Officer of Newburgh Brewing Company. “There will not be a Sierra Nevada again. There will not be a Lagunitas — there just won’t be.”
“Even they’re getting smaller,” adds Manca.
As more breweries crop up, each will have a smaller piece of the market share. Manca thinks this will result in more regional players and less interest in expansion. Over the next decade, he expects nearly every town will have its own brewery. “It’s almost taking the beer industry back to how it was a couple hundred years ago,” he says.
Whether the future of craft beer lies in the past or in state regulations, there is one place you’ll find it: in a 16 oz can of NewYorkBoss.
NewYorkBoss IPA will be available in Newburgh Brewing Company’s taproom and at Whole Foods stores in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut starting on Friday. Make haste for this brewsky — Manca anticipates NewYorkBoss will sell out within 30 days of its release.