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Beverage center has plans for Schuyler ADVERTISEMENT

Beverage center has plans for Schuyler

WATKINS GLEN--The state announced funding earlier this month that may finally bring a project to the Schuyler County Business Park. According to the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development (SCOPED), there are preliminary plans for an Ultra Premium Beverage Center that will use the site to address logistic issues related to the production and export of ultra-premium wines. The project will be undertaken by Third Leaf Partners of California and located in the Schuyler County Business Park.
This facility is modeled after those in California that reduce overhead costs, storage and shipping expenses of independent wineries. Phase one, to be undertaken in 2016, involves construction of a 20,000 square-foot facility and will employ some 20 people. The project received $1 million in state funding and will cost $5 million in additional private-sector leverage.
SCOPED Director Judy McKinney Cherry said the group sent a letter of intent for the project, and not a letter of commitment, adding things could still change at this point. She noted they are still waiting for word from the state as to what needs to be done in order to receive this money. Some of the preliminary work she mentioned still needs to be done includes running utilities and driveways to the building site. Cherry did not say when specifically they would like to see work begin in 2016. However, they want to make sure they take the proper steps to get the state money before moving forward.
Cherry said the project is envisioned as a modular project to have multiple employers in the same building to use for production of ultra-premium wines. According to the letter of intent, Third Leaf also states the possibility of expanding the space over the following years. She said these wines are small batch, high quality wines that generally see production of less than 20,000 cases. Cherry stated it is not a custom crush facility and is meant to satisfy an additional market that is growing in demand worldwide.
According to SCOPED, the Southern Tier is home to a growing premium beverage industry that includes liquors, spirits, wine and beer. Schuyler County is the fourth-ranked county in the state for the number of wineries according to the New York State Wine and Grape Foundation. The total number of beverage firms in the region has increased 85 percent in the past decade, and in 2013 alcohol manufacturing produced more than $4.5 million for the region. The Food and Agriculture Initiative will support growth in this industry by connecting small and startup companies with processing/packaging resources that maximize profit in the premium beverage industry, including the construction of regional facilities to enhance capacity. In particular, a centralized location for wine production, warehousing and distribution is needed.

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