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What's on tap next for Saratoga Brewing facility?

What's on tap next for Saratoga Brewing facility?

'We've made some calls to contacts in the industry that may lead us to another brewer'
What's on tap next for Saratoga Brewing facility?
Saratoga Brewing Company is seen on Jan. 24.
Photographer: Erica Miller

SARATOGA SPRINGS — More than a week after Saratoga Brewing Company shut its doors, Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership has begun shopping for a new tenant for the Excelsior Avenue brewery. 

Saratoga Brewing, which was formed in 1997, shut its doors on Jan. 16. 

Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership President Marty Vanags said he's working with Stewart's Shops, the owner of the building in which Saratoga Brewing operated, in an effort to find another brewer to occupy the space. 

"We've made some calls to contacts in the industry that may lead us to another brewer," he said. 

Vanags added that a member of his staff conducted a walk-through of the building last week to survey the facility and equipment to better answer capacity and equipment questions from potential tenants. 

"The building is well-maintained, and it would be easy for another brewer to come in," he said. 

General Manager Max Oswald told The Daily Gazette on Jan. 16 that he couldn't discuss the brewery's closure until its parent company, Mendocino Brewing, issues a statement. 

On Wednesday, Oswald said there was still no update.

Jennifer Howard, property manager for Stewart's Shops, said the company is working with Saratoga Brewing. 

"We're working with the brewery to overcome the short-term hurdle to make sure they can be successful in the long term," she said. "We'd love to see them continue to brew and employ local people." 

Kate Otis, a spokeswoman for Mechanicville-based DeCrescente Distributing Co., which distributes Saratoga Brewing Co.'s beer, said the company is still selling beer made by Saratoga Brewing before it was shuttered.

"We have product and are continuing to sell," she said. "Our team has been in contact with Max and hope the brewery gets back on track to brewing." 

During the same week of Saratoga Brewing's closure, Mendocino Brewing closed its Ukiah, California, taproom without explanation, as reported by the Santa Rosa Press Democrat

The publication also said the California brewery's chairman and indirect majority shareholder, Vijay Mallya, who bought Mendocino Brewing in 1997, is fighting extradition to India on charges of fraud and money laundering.

Saratoga Springs-based Artisanal Brew Works' owner Kurt Borchardt said that, before opening his brewery in July 2016, he sought advice from several Saratoga Brewing Co. employees.

"What's nice about [the industry] is that we're competitive, but not cutthroat," he said. "I can talk to a fellow brewer at another brewery and bounce ideas off of them."

Borchardt said Saratoga Brewing Co. was a mainstay in the Saratoga craft beverage scene. 

"I knew times weren't great for them, but regardless I'm very sad to see them go," he said. 

There was no mention of the closures on the corporate web or Facebook pages of either Saratoga Brewing or Mendocino Brewing, though there are posts from as recent as mid-January. 

New York State Brewers Association Executive Director Paul Leone said the closings caught the association off guard. 

"I don't have any information at all on the details," he said. "It's sad to hear, for sure."

Of the 390 breweries in New York State, Leone said a vast majority of them are small, family owned and operated businesses that service small areas. 

"My hope is that they become a great brewery again in that region because they've been around a long time, so it would be sad to see them go away forever," he said. "They were a brand that was really coming back, and hopefully they'll be back."

Calls placed to Mendocino Brewing Co. were not returned on Thursday.

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