Award to help Woodcock Brothers Brewing Company transform vacant potion of Wurlitzer Building into tourist spot and create 35 full-time jobs
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Friday a $516,000 New York State Community Development Block Grant award to the City of North Tonawanda that will allow Woodcock Brothers Brewing Company to expand operations and open a craft brewery and restaurant.
Empire State Development is offering additional support of up to $110,000 in performance-based excelsior tax credits, which are directly tied to job creation commitments. Demand for the company's products has exceeded production capacity of its existing facility in Wilson. The awards will assist the company in expanding production and continuing the transformation of the iconic Wurlitzer Building, a former organ factory, into a tourist destination. The company will create 35 full-time jobs over two years, 26 of which will benefit low to moderate-income workers.
"New York's booming craft brewery industry is an exciting part of our economy, and this investment will deliver stronger, more sustainable economic development for North Tonawanda," Cuomo said. "With the opening of this new location, Woodcock Brothers Brewing Company will spur job growth in the city, while also contributing to New York's thriving tourism sector."
"With state economic development funding, the Woodcock Brothers Brewing Company will expand operations in North Tonawanda creating new job opportunities in the area," said Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul. "The company's new craft brewery and restaurant will revitalize a vacant building and allow the local producer to increase production. Investments in local projects are allowing communities across New York to transform buildings and pursue developments to attract visitors and boost the economy."
This investment reflects Cuomo's commitment to supporting entrepreneurism and making New York state a leader in the craft beer manufacturing industry. Under Cuomo's leadership, and his administration's commitment to cutting bureaucratic red tape and reducing costs for the industry, New York is home to a record-number 415 breweries, including 22 in Western New York, that are creating jobs and driving tourism across the state.
The CDBG award will allow the company to lease and renovate approximately 5,500 square feet of the Wurlitzer Building to create a restaurant with a kitchen, a bar, a brew floor, an outdoor patio, and seating for 120 patrons. Specifically, the grant will assist with leasehold improvements, brewing equipment, furniture and fixtures, design and planning, inventory, employee training and other working capital expenses.
The renovation of the Wurlitzer Building is an example of the transformative power of smart growth in a community that is on the rise. There are several other smart growth projects being pursued in the City of North Tonawanda, thanks to $ 2.5 million in funding from the Buffalo Billion II. The city will use the funding to make improvements at Gateway Harbor, streetscape and pedestrian enhancements in the central business district, park and pedestrian improvements and signage upgrades.
Woodcock Brothers Brewing Company Inc. is a successful Niagara County, family-owned craft brewery that currently employs 40 staff members in Wilson and has already been forced to increase the size of its current space to accommodate a growing number of patrons. The business started with four beers on tap and since then, the selection has increased to over 20 products with approximately 12 beers on tap at any one time. In 2016, WBBC added a canning line at its Wilson location. Distribution of its products started with the brewery's first four beers sold in kegs, and has expanded to over 12 beers sold in kegs and eight beers sold in cans. The kegged product is available in over 100 bars and restaurants throughout the Buffalo and Niagara region.
New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "This investment in the Woodcock Brothers Brewery will create new jobs for those who need them most, increase economic activity in North Tonawanda, and attract more visitors to the region, helping it thrive. The local roots and investment in the community exhibited by Woodcocks Brothers Brewery is a prime example of why Gov. Cuomo has been such a strong supporter of the craft beverage industry."
Empire State Development CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, "The historic Wurlitzer Building is becoming a food tourism hub in Niagara County as Woodcock Brothers Brewery moves in next to Platters Chocolates; collaborating to create a unique culinary destination."
New York Sen. Rob Ortt said, "The new Woodcock Brothers Brewery site in the Wurlitzer factory building will not only be great for our community, but will be responsible for the creation of nearly three-dozen new jobs, and is welcomed addition to a craft brewing industry we have seen flourish across our region. The rejuvenation of our area's historic buildings is always positive, and the fact that this expansion will serve as both an economic driver and a new attraction for the residents of our community is a recipe for success. I look forward to the Woodcock Brothers building upon their wonderful accomplishments and plan on dining with them for years to come."
Assemblyman Robin Schimminger said, "As chair of the New York State Assembly Committee on Economic Development, Job Creation, Commerce and Industry, I am pleased to welcome Woodcock Brothers Brewing Company to the City of North Tonawanda. Sustainable job creation has always been one of my top priorities in serving the people of the 140th assembly district, and I look forward to the opportunity to help further the growth of an already-successful Niagara County business in our region. I'm certainly gratified to see that the legislation we've enacted in recent years to boost the craft beverage industry together with business incentives we've put in place like excelsior tax credits are yielding positive results here in our community."
North Tonawanda Mayor Arthur Pappas said, "We are thrilled to have Woodcock Brothers Brewery joining our community. They have been successful in their other location and we are looking forward to seeing them thrive here in North Tonawanda. The brewery is moving into a historic complex here in North Tonawanda, which also is expanding with new businesses. The North Tonawanda community is already buzzing about the arrival of Woodcock Bros. at the Wurlitzer Building and we believe they will be the perfect complement to the recent redevelopment, which brought Platter's Chocolates and two first class event spaces to the building. The Wurlitzer Building is experiencing a rebirth as a destination for all occasions with a nod to its rich history in North Tonawanda. I would also like to thank New York State Homes and Community Renewal, and Empire State Development for helping to make this all possible."
President of Woodcock Brothers Brewery Tim Woodcock said, "All of us at WBBC are very excited about the new location at the Wurlitzer. The new location will be very similar to the main facility in Wilson. Brewing operations will be fully visible to the public. Our families grew up in Niagara County, and we have strong ties to the history of the Wurlitzer Factory Building. We couldn't be more excited about our role in the next evolution of the historic building and we are so grateful for the amazing local support we've experienced from the communities of the Niagara Region. Cheers!"
Executive Director of the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency Susan C. Langdon said, "Woodcock Brothers Brewery has an established, extremely successful operation in Wilson. We were pleased to help them expand to the Wurlitzer Building in Niagara County where they will soon be welcoming customers to their new brewery destination."