Empire Beer making its way back on shelves in stores across Upstate New York

Local News

ELLICOTTVILLE, NEW YORK (WSYR-TV) — After a short hiatus, the Empire brand of beer is making its way back onto shelves stretching from Western New York through its familiar Central New York territory and east to Albany.

Ellicottville Brewing Company acquired Empire Brewing earlier this year, which was founded in Syracuse by David Katleski in 1994.

Katleski filed for bankruptcy on Empire’s Cazenovia farmstead brewery production facility and restaurant back in August. The original downtown Syracuse brewpub was closed down by the building’s landlords last fall for failure to pay rent.

Ellicottville Brewing owner Peter Kreinheder says, “I always loved the brand name. I think the name Empire really stands for a lot, especially for New York State.”

Kreinheder and Katleski have been friends for about 25 years so the Ellicottville brewer from Western New York approached his buddy about selling the brand to keep it alive.

“When he was here visiting I can’t tell you how comfortable it all was feeling, so when you go back 25 years and it just makes sense,” Kreinheder tells NewsChannel 9

Ellicottville Brewing Company just finished an expansion project in Little Valley, New York to allow it to increase capacity in the coming years.

The multi-million-dollar project – was the next phase for this Western New York craft brand whose main brewery is attached to its signature restaurant and pub in Ellicottville, New York.

“It was altruistic to keep the brand alive but it was also an opportunity for us to carry our production past Syracuse,” Kreinheder

Ellicottville Brewing is releasing four beers right now under the Empire name, repackaged and some tweaks to the recipes.

Empire’s famous Skinny Atlas Light, a Kolsh German Style Ale is back, along with Local Grind a Scotch Ale with Cafe Kubal coffee.

The other two are State of Mind, a New England IPA, and Black Magic, a Nitro Stout.

Kreinheder offers this advice on the Black Magic, “You need to turn the can upside down, twice and then crack it, and then hold it straight over a glass so the nitrogen will mix in and come out. You can’t pour it like a regular beer, you want to turn it straight upside down and let it plunge itself to get the nitro mixed in.”

He says the beers will be hitting shelves over the next week to ten days.

“Because of COVID they have limited display and shelf space, so they’re rolling it out over the next ten, twelve days. Wegmans, it’s really important they wanted to tell everybody that if you walk into a store and its not there yet its because they’re managing display space,” he explains.

Ellicottville Brewing is expecting to release soon a grapefruit style New England IPA called Ceiling Zero, a tip of the hat to Syracuse’s flying and engineering history.

In about six weeks they’re also aiming to have out an Empire seltzer.


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For more local news, follow Jeff Kulikowsky on Twitter @JeffNC9.

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