Less than two years after selling its first product, Schoharie County’s sole distillery is eyeing expansion.
KyMar Farm Distillery founder Kenneth Wortz recently bought the former Story House Book Bindery building on Baptist Road in Charlotteville.
Following some renovations, the 37,000-square-foot facility will also have room for retail. The distillery currently uses roughly 1,000 square feet of space.
With the town of Summit acting as lead agency, Wortz said the business is vying for state economic development grant funding which would match money spent on equipment to support new jobs.
“It helps create employment and it helps us grow the business faster. We’re excited,” Wortz said.
The building purchase, details of which Wortz declined to disclose, will expand opportunities for the business that’s more than doubled its base of customers. It’s also boosting orders for raw materials gathered from the state’s agricultural community.
Wortz said there’s now at least 200 outlets in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts where KyMar’s spirits are sold.
One key to keeping the business thriving, Wortz said, is not growing too big too fast.
“We’re thrilled to death to be growing, but what we don’t want to do is outpace our ability to supply. We’re constantly watching our inventory and the number of customers we take on,” Wortz said.
The small company, consisting of three partners, makes use of locally grown sorghum to distill “Schoharie Shine,” a moonshine product, and apples and maple syrup to create “Schoharie Mapple Jack” liquor.
Wortz said the company’s next feature — rye whiskey — requires hundreds of pounds of malted barley.
“A full one-third of our costs are checks that we’re writing to farmers. It’s a check I’m proud to write,” Wortz said.
KyMar Farm Distillery will be moving into a building that once housed more than 100 jobs — the book bindery. The bindery went out of business in 2001, about the same time the Guilford Mills factory in Cobleskill went under, taking more than 500 jobs with it.
Wortz said it’s unclear yet how many new positions could be created in the building.
Once refurbished, the building will serve as a full-time distillery and welcome guests for tours and tasting events.