Rooster Fish Brewing: New York’s First Farm Brewery


Rooster Fish Brewing:

New York’s First Farm Brewery

If you like local and you like beer, the combination of farms and breweries is a natural—and delicious—step in the right direction. In 2013, Governor Andrew Cuomo created a “Farm Brewery” license that allows craft breweries that make their beer with local farm ingredients to operate with less restrictions, leading to more and better brews—and happier customers. One such operation reaping the benefits of the new license is Doug Thayer of Rooster Fish Brewing in Watkins Glen. As the first brewery in New York to receive the license, Rooster Fish is already seeing changes and positive effects. “The ruling came into effect right when I needed to renew my microbrewery license; that’s why I’m the first farm brewer. I had to!” Thayer says. Thayer was already making a point to use local products in his beer, so the new license was a no-brainer. “I’m hiring more local producers, buying more local grain, more hops,” he says. “I feel like it’s better to spread the local love around. And I grew up on a farm, so I know the reality of producing and selling.” Does Thayer have any plans to dive back into the world of agriculture with grains and hops of his own? “Oh, farmers can do what they do,” he says with a hearty chuckle. “And I’ll do what I do.” Lucky for us, collaboration between them both just got a whole lot easier. Rochelle Bilow

223-301 North Franklin Street, Watkins Glen, 607.535.9797,

This piece originally appeared in our March/April 2014 issue

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