ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — After Roc Brewing Co. Suddenly closed after over a decade in business, beer lovers were left wondering what this means for the business across the state.
Paul Leone is the executive director of the New York Brewers Association, and he says craft beer simply isn’t a growing industry anymore. Before 2016, the growth of the industry was 10% year over year.
“No doubt there are breweries that are looking to sell, there are breweries that are not going to make it for the long haul, unfortunately, but I would caution people and say that this is a business like any other business,” Leone said. “There are breweries that are no doubt struggling, and there are some that are expanding.
“We are not over-saturated and there is no bubble.”
Part of the reason is a reduction in distribution revenue as distributors have consolidated over time. Other reasons, he says, include breweries struggling to recover post-pandemic –
a reduction in consumer spending strength, and an increase in consumer options, both beer and non-beer options.
Leone says in response to this, breweries have had to find new ways to differentiate themselves and add more options.
That’s certainly the case for Nine Spot Brewing at 190 Monroe Ave in Rochester. They opened in December.
Chris Nothnagle is the owner and he says they make “clean” beer that honors New York State, as well as creating a warm atmosphere with events that cater to a wide range of people.
But to stay afloat:
“Just making great beer is not enough anymore,” he said, adding that New York State spirits account for 10% of their revenue.
Nine Spot says summer walk-in traffic wasn’t what they expected, even being between Strange Bird and the former Roc Brewing, and The Strong Museum of Play.
But if you love New York State breweries, and hate seeing them close, Nothnagle says:
“Go and visit all 530 of them, find out what makes your local brewery different than the one that’s down the road, and I think it makes for a happier consumer overall.”