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A new state law expected to change the way beer is produced in New York could have a positive effect on a local farm, not to mention agri-tourism in the region.

“This craft brewing industry is phenomenal," Ted Hawley tells our news partner, The Batavian. "There are no rules. There can be up to 30 ingredients in brews from nuts and berries – there are some great craft brews that are being processed right now in people’s garages. This farm brewing bill will offer them an opportunity to open up larger and sell their product.”

Hawley and his wife Patricia already are ahead of the curve and in the midst of opening a malt house on their farm off Bank Street Road, Batavia. The law stipulated that all ales and lagers labeled “New York Beer” must contain 90 percent locally grown ingredients. Ted says that may not have been well-thought out.

“When they put this brewing bill together," he said, "I do believe that they thought they could just grow barley in New York. They didn’t know there was another step, which is malting.”

The Hawleys say their malt house is currently the only one in the state as microbreweries look to catch up with the law.
“At this conference," Patricia said. "There was one brief mention, maybe a sentence or two, about if there were any entrepreneurs out there, that malt is needed and there are no malt houses, so, initially, we weren’t even thinking of going in that direction.”

It’s is modeled after New York’s wine industry which invites trails and tastings, not to mention bigger production runs and state-wide distribution. Patricia envisions microbreweries having a profound effect on Genesee County.

“It would be really great if we could encourage microbrewers to come in who are largely young to set down roots and raise their families here to really change the landscape of what Batavia or Genesee County looks like. It would be very cool to bring in that demographic, which then, attracts others with that whole artisanal mindset.”

Eventually, Ted believes the Hawley house will produce 150 tons of malt a year. So far, some 50 brewers have expressed interest in their malt.
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