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Armory Square's Empire Brewing Co. eyes Cazenovia for microbrewery

Empire Brewing Company owner David Katleski, of Cazenovia, spoke to the Cazenovia village board on Nov. 1 to discuss his plans to build a microbrewery right next to Lorenzo State Historic Site - which would eventually require annexation of the property by the village.

Empire runs a restaurant in downtown Syracuse, where they currently brew their own beer. But Katleski said he wants to expand the operation.

"So, where do we build a microbrewery? There are a number of places we could, but Karen [David's wife] and I would like to build one here," he said.

The property would be next to Lorenzo, with rustic architecture modeled after Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown. Katleski said the brewery itself could be anywhere between 10 and 20,000 square feet.

Deputy Mayor Kurt Wheeler said he appreciated Katleski's current ideas for the site, which would reserve land closer to the road for agricultural use and place the brewery itself farther back.

The ultimate goal, Katleski said, will be to produce a product which can be sold by Empire. But, he said, "the secondary goal is to create jobs."

Katleski hopes 50 to 70 jobs could be created after about five years.

"They're cool jobs - because these kids love to work in a brewery," he said. "This isn't a Budweiser plant that we're making. This is a craft brewery."

Becca Jablonski, with Cornell Cooperative Extension, introduced Katleski and said the brewery would be part of a movement bringing agritourism and agriculture in the area. She said the brewery would be "the first farm brewery, really, in New York state."

Katleski pointed to Cooperstown, where Ommegang has attracted a lot of tourism dollars.

"This is what these beer geeks do - I don't get it, but they travel all over the place and go to these breweries," he said.

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