Tuesday 24 February 2015

This year the New York City Beer Week organizers decided to hold the annual Brewer’s Choice Event at Sanders Studio space in the Clinton Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn. On a cold, icy Tuesday late afternoon I found my way there, with the assistance of the G.P.S. application on my mobile phone. I wondered how many beer folks would find their way here.

The scene on my arrival was very organized chaos. Husky, bearded chaps in parkas and baseball caps wandered around either searching for or tightly clutching plastic hoses and glistening keg-tapping equipment. The thud of beer kegs being positioned at the various pouring stations set the bass line as the sounds of assembly were joined by the murmur of the brewers and the first of their guests.

Actually, I was on site an hour before the official opening in order to meet up with Paul Leone, Executive Director of the New York State Brewers Association. I found him with no difficulty and took the opportunity to ask him…

What do you expect from this event in particular for the New York State Brewers Association?

“What I like about Brewer’s Choice is that it highlights New York State breweries and the agriculture behind the beer like barley and hops that New York State is growing again in great quality and quantity. It’s as local as local can get and it’s important for people to taste as they get to talk to the Brewers on site pouring their samples.”

How do you get this message across?

“Right now we are engaged in a marketing campaign, thanks to funding from the Governor’s office, called “Think New York, Drink New York”. We are currently working with the ad agency BBDO on a strategy that is completely digital including online social media outlets such as the Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, as well as blogs. We’re also using a really creative video strategy that will tell our story in a very unique and creative way. We’re taking this route because the demographic were targeting is relatively young, including gen Xers and millennials, who primarily view content through their smartphones and online. That’s how were getting our message out right now.”

What I found particularly interesting was the emphasis on using locally grown grain and hops in so many beers. After my chat with Paul Leone I made my way to one of the breweries he suggested I take a particular interest in. He was correct in his assumption.


Meet (L-R)

Marty Mattrazzo and Natalie Mattrazzo

Chatting with the folks from The Farmhouse Brewery of Owego, NY I discovered a brewery that not only brewed from locally grown grain, they grew and malted it themselves. I’ll let maltster Natalie Mattrazzo tell you about it…

5:55 interview audio


Here at we will continue to explore the sources of the materials used in brewing our favorite beverage.

Starting here in Brooklyn we’ll “Think New York, Drink New York”.

And then… the world!