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Cazenovia Fat Bike Race


Fat Bikes first came to the market around 2000 and were reserved for adventure-sport enthusiasts because of large price tags and limited availability. In recent years, the sport has gained traction in the recreational biking community as the fat tire is becoming more adorable.  A fat bike is an off-road bicycle with oversized tires, typically 3’ 7” or larger, they are designed for low ground pressure to allow riding on unstable terrain, such as snow, sand, bogs and mud. With record low snow fall in CNY over the past few winters it is no surprise fat bikes are dominating the trails over cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and other winter recreations.

Empire Brewing Company and Syracuse Bicycle are bringing fat biking to Cazenovia on Sunday February 12, 2017!  The Cazenovia Fat Bike Race at Empire Farm Brewery is an event that gets you outside during the long CNY winter and makes bike racing FUN again. For beginners and experts alike, the race includes tech service by Syracuse Bicycle, award winning Empire Brewing Company beer & food, fat bike demos, games and contests, awards and prizes, toasty fires, and great music! Family & friends are welcome to cheer you on. We guarantee they’ll have as much as fun you will! Each racer will receive 2 beer tickets and post-race food. Additional beer and food for friends and family will be available for purchase. Fat Bike rentals are available on a limited basis.

Get full details here on Syracuse Bicycles events page.  Spectators are welcome! Our tasting room will be open for regular hours the day of the race, 11:30am-9pm.  See you there.


Beer + Yoga = Community

Yoga+Beer Photo #4

Beer and Yoga may seem like an unlikely match, even counterintuitive, but they have more in common than one would think.  Last Saturday, Empire Farm Brewery welcomed 30 yogis into the new production brewery in Cazenovia for a morning of blissed out yoga followed by an Empire Brew in the tasting room.  The event was the first of its kind to be offered at Empire and was well received by both the yoga and craft beer communities that gathered.

Yoga is a practice of flow, muscle building and mindfulness. The yoga studio is well-kept, with many helpful props and the controlled smells of incense and essential oils.  Yoga in the brewery strips down those familiarities. The brewery offers a different sensory experience with large tanks giving off the sounds and smells of fermentation, high ceilings and the occasional barley grain scattered on the floor.  Beer + Yoga give’s fresh perspective to the seasoned yogi and also makes the practice approachable to newcomers.

The craft beer drinker today is active.  The Empire tasting room welcomes runners, skiers and bikers alike for a post-workout recovery drink, giving those communities a place to gather.  Yoga is becoming just as social.  In a studio setting, many times yogis will roll up their mats and head home.  Beer + Yoga offers more.  Saturday’s instructor Sophie Tashkovski said, “This was a great opportunity to bring people together to have a community aspect to yoga.”

In an overnight sell-out of last Saturday’s event, Beer + Yoga will return on February 18, 2017 with back to back classes in collaboration with the O Yoga Studio.  Empire looks to offer regular yoga and wellness classes monthly through our Beer+ program, always ending with your favorite Empire Brew. Cheers!

Yoga+Beer Photo #2

Brew News: New Styles from the Empire Brewpub


New and old seasonal favorites from the Syracuse Brewpub are on tap now! There is something for all craft beer lovers.

On weekend tours at the Cazenovia Farm Brewery we are often asked if we still brew at our downtown Syracuse location.  The answer is YES!  Our 7 BBL turn-key brew house in downtown Syracuse is in full production, with a capacity of 1200 BBL annually. For those of you who aren’t familiar with BBL (barrels) as a unit of measurement, a standard keg is the equivalent of a ‘half barrel’. A 7BBL batch of beer will generally produce about 12 standard kegs. The 7 BBL brewpub system allows us to experiment with new and unique styles, which we are proud to offer at both of our locations.

What’s the latest from the Brewpub?

Cranbaby Wheat 6.5% ABV.  This Belgian style unfiltered wheat is brewed with a cranberry puree giving it a beautiful pink hue. Lightly hopped and then fermented with a traditional yeast strain, this brew walks the line between sweet and tart, finishing crisp and dry. The style was inspired from the popularity of our Deep Purple, which uses local Concord Grape concentrate from the NYS Finger Lakes region. Common winter styles are often dark, malty, high OG beers. Our brewers wanted to offer a light, crisp seasonal alternative. The Cranbaby Wheat features a cranberry puree, which were harvested in the late fall. Brewery Administrator, Jocelyn Feldmeth, gave us the scoop on recipe and execution: “We used Tim’s [Butler] traditional Belgian Wit recipe, but replaced the spice component with a cranberry puree. We used our house White Aphro yeast, which gives the beer a more tart, sour feel, and added the cranberry during conditioning.” 

Tart and fruity not your jam?  Don’t forget about our popular Togg Grog Ale 7.3% ABV, brewed for Toggenburg Mountain in Fabius NY. This spicy Winter Warmer style ale offers notes of Cardamom and allspice. Patron and Untappd user Ken W gives this beer 4 stars, “I really enjoy the winter spices that round out the dark malty flavor of this beer. Highly recommended,” thanks Ken W!

Brewpub Beer styles on tap now?  Our Draft list is constantly changing so ask your bartender what’s new or follow us @empirebrew for the latest on Empire draft releases.  Our specialties go quick, so stop by and enjoy a fresh pint when you can!

Empire Farm Brewery, Cazenovia, NY:

American Strong Ale 8.5% ABV

Roasted Pumpkin Ale 6.5% ABV

Liv & Let Rye IPA 6.5% ABV

Local Grind 7.2% ABV

Empire Brewpub, Syracuse, NY:

Cranbaby Wheat 6.5% ABV

Togg Grog Ale 7.3% ABV

Lost Dog Pale Ale 5.8% ABV

Liv & Let Rye IPA 6.5% ABV

Local Grind 7.5% ABV

Barley Wine 12.5% ABV


See what’s on tap daily at


Overwintering Bees in the E-piary


What’s the buzz with the E-pairy honeybees in the winter?

Honeybees are known as a super pollinator.  Have you seen recent campaigns that take all products that are created with the help of pollinators out of the grocery stores?  Long story short, you’re not left with much.  Spring and summer are a thriving time in agriculture with much help from pollinators like the honeybee, but what do our tiny friends do in our northern climates in the winter?  Many of you have asked and we are here to give you the buzz.

In mid-fall when nighttime temperatures start to consistently hit 40 degrees Fahrenheit an alarming pheromone is let off in the hive to signal a few practices.  First, the female worker bees take it upon themselves to kick out the drone (male) population, equating for roughly ten percent of the colony.  Drones serve one purpose and one purpose only, to inseminate a new queen and when honey (food) reserves are scarce during the winter they are kicked to the curb because we all know there is no such thing as a free lunch. Sorry, guys.  Next, worker bees begin to cluster around the queen bee in a circular motion while flapping their wings to create heat.  Worker bees weave from the outside to inside portions of the cluster to keep the colony warm.  Clustering is a crucial practice that keeps the colony and queen at no lower than 45 degrees Fahrenheit so she is able to continue laying eggs throughout the winter, which determines the fate of the colony.  The population of the colony drops drastically and the laying of eggs in early January is essential for the colony to repopulate in early spring.

As the temperature rises and falls, the cluster expands and contracts. The bees within the cluster have access to the food stores of honey and pollen. During warm periods, the cluster shifts its position to cover new areas of comb containing honey. An extremely prolonged cold spell can prohibit cluster movement, and the bees may starve to death only inches away from honey.

It’s upsetting to report that over 40% of honey bee colonies in the United States do not survive the winter and in New York State it is closer to a 50% failure rate.  As a beekeeper all you can do is cultivate healthy hives that have a large population at the end of summer and plenty of honey and pollen stores, over 80lbs in colder northern climates!  It’s not until the first warm days of spring where a hives fate is revealed and a beekeeper can either breathe easy or begin work on a new colony.

That’s all from the E-pairy this year, thanks for following and keep your fingers crossed for a successful overwinter.  Long live the honeybee!

Brew News: Worst Day IPA

It was an ordinary morning at Empire Farm Brewery and like clock work the production team geared up for another day of brewing.  With safety glasses on and slip grip boots in toe the brewer’s started their day’s work.  With the push of a button, in the fully automated brewhouse, over 4000lbs of malting barley made its way into the building to be milled and added to the mash tun for a batch of Slo Mo IPA.   It wasn’t long before the brewer’s realized the mash was stuck!  With some troubleshooting and pure force the mash moved into the lauter tun, where grain and wort (sugary water) are separated.  Phew, they dodged a bullet!  Covered in sweat and confusion they continued to make beer.  But just a moment later the brewhouse began to experience major automation glitches!  What was the deal?  A power outage… They soon realized the building had experienced a power surge the night before and the entire brewhouse had been uncalibrated, yikes.  Anything else? Of course, we all know things come in threes.  Next, the boil kettle was registering a full tank of wort but was just over half full, with all the ingredients of a full batch. (Let us stress the massive amounts of malt and hops in a Slo Mo)  It was decided that the brew team would let the cycle run its course, but it was clear that they had created an entirely new brew.  A hazy IPA with medium body and extra malt sweetness!  Director of Brewing, Tim Butler, took it a step further and utilized our hop cannon for the first time ever to dry hop the brew with 50lbs of Citra, a prized west coast proprietary hop, to give this beer a bright hoppy nose.  In a final tribute to this historic day in Empire Farm Brewery history, brewer Jimmy so simply put, “that was the worst day ever, man” and the rest is history.

Thanks for letting us vent about our worst day ever, to say thanks we’ve kegged it and made it available for your drinking pleasure EXCLUSIVELY at Empire Farm Brewery in Cazenovia, NY!  It the first beer to be featured on our farmhouse tap series of one-offs and specialty batches offered only at Empire Brewing Company.



In October 2014, at a Brooklyn beer event, 5 friends decided to join forces over a unique beer collaboration by beer industry women.  Empire Brewing Company welcomed the collaboration with open arms.  The women presented the idea of a new beer style that would have big flavor and incorporate unique ingredients.  Head Brewer, Tim Butler, was put to the test and delivered a recipe unlike any other.  The collaboration’s success in 2014 made this an instant tradition for the ladies of Sweet Fire and Empire Brewing Company alike.

Since that first brew in 2014 the Sweet Fire collaboration has grown to 14 women involved in the brewing process of the imperial stout.  They are an eclectic group of women with a mutual love of craft beer.  The women of Sweet Fire are entrepreneurs, sales woman, cicerones, managers, writers and representatives to some of the top beer establishments in the metro New York area.  They come from far and wide, most moving to NYC in their adults lives and finding themselves in one of the fastest growing industries in the state, craft beer.

In the past two years, the Brewsters, a term from the middle ages referring to female brewers, would create small batches on the Empire brewpub 7BBL system and release the liquid at limited quantities to the establishment’s they worked for.   Much has changed for Empire Brewing Company in the past year in the opening of their 60BBL farm brewery in Cazenovia.  This year the Sweet Fire women were invited to Central New York to brew on the state of the art production style brewery at a quantity for mass distribution in bottles and kegs throughout New York State and New Jersey.  The liquid is available at a limited release while supplies last.

Sweet Fire is an imperial chocolate chili stout with a tantalizing chocolate flavor and heat that creeps onto the palate, presenting a beautiful balance of sweetness and hotness. 8.3 ABV%

Youtube: BrewHer Shoes

We are proud to introduce to you to these notable women in craft, and this years Sweet Fire brewsters; 

Cheers to you ladies, and thanks for the pure liquid!


Buy Local, Give Local!


Grow local, craft global. That is Empire Brewing Company’s mission. A long time advocate of supporting local businesses, Empire encourages you to shop locally this Holiday season! As added incentive, Empire has committed to donating 10% of all locally sourced artisan merchandise to local charity, Caz Cares. Stop by the Empire Farm Brewery and checkout the neighborhood craft!

Find the following premium brands at our local table:

Caz Cares serves low income residents of the Cazenovia School District and surrounding areas of Madison County with food, clothing and other necessary services. In Madison County, 26% of the residents live in poverty. Every month, approximately 170 families receive food from the Caz Cares food pantry. In addition to a monetary donation, Empire has organized an incentivized canned food/toy drive allowing patrons to help our less fortunate neighbors. Through the month of December,  bring in non perishable food item(s) or new toy(s) to be donated to Caz Cares and receive a free Empire draft pint! (must be 21 or older, only one pint per customer.)





Jingle Bell Brunch is Back

Empire Brewing Company is proud to present another great line up for our annual Jingle Bell Brunch.  For three more weeks enjoy your 2016 New Times voted, best brunch spot in Syracuse, on Saturday!  This music series is in partnership with the Armory Square Association’s “Holiday Happenings” which works to bring the best local music to  businesses in the Armory Square area of downtown Syracuse.  Last Saturday, Chris James & Mama G rocked the Brewpub and we look forward to what’s up next:

Saturday, December 3: The B-Side Band 12PM-2PM

Saturday, December 10: Better than Bowling Band 12PM-2PM

Saturday, December: Bradshaw Blues Band 12PM-2PM

Find the full list of “Holiday Happenings” below or at


What’s a Farm Brewery?

Last month, Governor Cuomo’s office announced a $55 million budget for tourism and craft beverage in 2017.  This is a $5 million increase from 2016 and the largest amount of funds allocated to tourism in NYS history.  Empire’s new farm brewery in Cazenovia has become a premier argitourism destination in Central New York and has been made in a large part through the support of New York state.

Yesterday, Empire Farm Brewery welcomed the Lieutenant Governor and other state officials to celebrate the opening of the state’s largest Farm Brewery.  Owner, David Katleski, thanked all parties involved in the project and it brought to light how many pieces made up the larger puzzle of opening a brewery of Empire’s size through the farm brewery legislation.

Since the law went into effect in January 2013 over 100 breweries have opened under this licensing.  The legislation has stimulated massive growth in all aspects of the brewing industry.  It was created in partnership with the state liquor authority to eliminate arbitrary post-probation laws, streamline regulations, and eliminate the need for a separate license to sample and sell manufactured beer.  The law also gives farm breweries the ability to buy and sell beer, wine, liquor and cider from other businesses under the NYS farm legislation.

The farm brewery law was modeled after the Farm Winery Act of 1976, which spurred the growth of wine production in the state, including the creation of 261 farm wineries and tripling the number of wineries.  To be licensed under the farm brewery law in accordance with the Department of Ag. and Markets, beer must be made with primarily NYS ingredients.  The current standings to meet these provisions is 20% hops and 20% all other ingredients must be grown in NYS.  Increasing twice until 2024 when 90% hops and 90% of all other ingredients need to be grown in state to meet requirements.  This law is not only opening breweries but creating a serious demand for NYS ingredients like hops, barley and rye.

Demand has been met with the creation of over 200 acres of hop yards in New York over the past four years. The Cornell Cooperative Extension has made great strides in studying how to grow hops in NY zoning climates and works to assist farmers statewide through site visits and information sharing online.  Prior to the passage of the legislation there were few farmers that grew malting barley, but in June 2015 Cornell reported 8 operating malt houses and 32 farmers growing the crop.

In the widespread growth of farm breweries there has been positive economic development, tourism and job growth throughout the state, and governmental support on the state level has been a driving force.  Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul stated yesterday at the Empire Farm Brewery, “When I see a craft brewery or a winery downtown, people coming to engage, I see great potential. I see first of all, they’re attracting young people who want to live and work and recreate in areas like this. But also it sends the message that this is an area that is rebounding.”  Cheers to continued success in the NYS craft!

empirebrewing2Find further coverage of the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony here.

A sweet note from our beekeeper, it’s liquid gold!

Hey honey,

Going into my first summer of beekeeping I had not a clue of what I was getting myself into. After a bit of research and one Syracuse Beekeepers meeting I realized it would be a small part of my job. I told myself a half day of research and the rest of the day executing—no big deal. I had no idea it would turn into the best part of my day, week and job. I learned a lot too, like how to light a smoker, what a full bee suite felt like on a hot summer day, and what it’s like to move slow, simply observing a thriving colony made up of a thousand small beings.

It became something I shared, often. And I started to not only see my knowledge of honey bees grow, but my colleagues understanding grow as well. Co-workers started to eagerly join me in managing the hives and ask in-depth questions about new hive trends and late-summer swarming. I knew going into this that I was responsible for educating myself on this fascinating hobby but who knew I would have my Empire team behind me doing just the same.

Then something amazing happened, honey! In an unexpected turn of events I extracted ninety pounds of what I call “liquid gold.” Enough to supply our tasting room, make available for retail sale, and even enough to brew a small batch of honey beer at our Syracuse brewpub. (Drum roll) This is what I present to you. Our amazing brewers have crafted the most decedent honey brown-ale and it’s on tap at both of our locations for your drinking pleasure at a limited quantity. Deemed the “Backyard Buzz” this English-style brown-ale will send you into notes of chocolate and toffee, and leave you with a distinctive sweet honey roasted finish. We hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed making it. Save the bees, drink Backyard Buzz!

Bee yourself,

Jackie Wood, Empire Beekeeper