New preschool location, Empire Brewery project presented to planning board

— The planning board also heard from Dave Katleski, Cazenovia resident and owner of Empire Brewing Company, about his company’s proposed farm brewery with a tasting room for patrons on Route 13, the land for which was recently annexed into the village.

“Really, this is a production facility,” said Katleski. “The goal is to get packaged product out into the marketplace, so we are going to can and bottle beer. The majority of the beer we now make in Brooklyn will be made here. We also wanted to do it in a style that was historically significant in Madison County. Madison County was the hop-making capital of the world before prohibition.”

Katleski emphasized his belief that the brewery will benefit the community as an agri-tourism destination.

“On weekends, curious minds will be coming in from out of town,” he said. “Beer geeks from all over the world are going to come in.”

The proposed facility will include a brewery, bakery, bottling line, warehouse and a tasting room and patio for patrons to sample the product. Hops and lavender, among other ingredients used in Empire’s beers, will be grown on site.

“The nice thing about the byproducts of the beer is the spent grain will now feed the cattle right across the street at Wilson’s farm, which in turn is served as beef at my restaurant [in Armory Square],” Katleski said. “There is a real symbiotic feel to it.”

Katleski and project architect Kurt Ofer answered public concerns about the facility during the public meeting. The lighting of the facility was addressed by Ofer, who insisted that there would be no nighttime glare from the facility, which will be open until 8 p.m. on the weekends. “The one concession to showmanship will be the dramatic lighting of the three hop house forms,” he said. These three “hop house forms” will dominate the façade of the facility and are intended to pay homage to Madison County’s heritage as a hop-growing community.

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