The former Porter’s Mill store — the old Agway — in Crown Point has been identified as a possible location for brewery by Ken Tucker, a Ticonderoga resident with plans to attract small breweries throughout the region.
Ken Tucker believes beer could be an economic force in the Adirondacks.
The Ticonderoga man has embarked on a project to attract small breweries throughout the region. He believes the effort will result in $3 billion in revenue a year and 5,000 jobs in 15 years.
“It’s the right time, it’s the right place,” Tucker said of his plan. “It’s just a matter of making it happen and I’m the guy for it.”
The key is Tucker’s vision is “blue gold” — the 10 trillion gallons of fresh water that flows from the Adirondacks each year. Water is the key ingredient in beer, he noted, making this area a prime location for breweries.
Tucker lived 12 years in Oregon, where small breweries thrive. Craft brewing is responsible for $3 billion in revenue each year and 5,000 jobs in Oregon, he said. Tucker believes the industry can do the same thing in the Adirondack Park.
To make his project a reality, Tucker has applied to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service to create a “EB-5 regional center” in the Adirondacks. Those centers are eligible to accept foreign investment in exchange for immigration consideration. The program allows foreign investors to get green cards if they meet an investment threshold.
“There’s a lot of money outside the U.S. looking for investment opportunities,” Tucker said. “Why not bring that money to the Adirondacks?”
Tucker hopes to have approval of the “regional center” application in February.
The closest “regional center” to the area is Jay Peak, Vt., he said, where 400 foreign investors have pumped $200 million into the local ski industry.
Tucker is confident foreign investors will want to take advantage of the Adirondack water to operate nano-breweries, brew-pubs, restaurant-breweries, micro-breweries and regional breweries.
Vermont has the largest number of breweries, per capita, in the United States, Tucker noted.
“The Adirondack Park is about the size of Vermont; we have about the same population,” he said. “Why can’t the Adirondacks of New York have the same footprint? Vermont exports a lot of beer and imports a lot of money. We can do that, too.”
While he awaits federal approval of the “regional center,” Tucker is contacting potential investors and investigating possible locations for breweries. To date he has identified six spots he feels are ideal for the project — in Crown Point, Keeseville, Saranac Lake, Lake Placid and Plattsburgh.
The Crown Point location is the former Porter’s Mill store — the old Agway — on Route 9N.
“It sits right on Putts Creek with plenty of pure, clean water and has a wonderful view,” Tucker said of the Crown Point spot. “I think it’s a great lcoation.”
Bethany Kosmider, Crown Point supervisor, agrees.
“Ken Tucker met with me a few weeks ago and it is quite apparent there is an interested business, a micro-brewery,” said Kosmider, who is leaving office Dec. 31. “I’m sorry this didn’t happen while I was in office, but at least it’s gotten started.”
Once the breweries are up and running, Tucker hopes to create a distribution network through the Adirondack Brewers Coalition.
The project will impact the local economy in a number of ways, Tucker said. Historic buildings that now sit vacant will be renovated into breweries, pubs and restauarants. Plants will hire workers. Local farmers will be able to grow hops, a necessary ingredient in beer making.
“You’ve got to see the big picture,” he said. “We’ll start with small breweries and grow from there. Soon Adirondack brews will have a cachet and value equal to ‘made in Vermont.’ We’re close and I couldn’t be more excited.”