ROCHESTER, NY – Officials at the Genesee Brewery today unveiled plans to create a destination for beer lovers that anchors development on downtown Rochester’s Northeast side. Plans call for a $2.6 million restoration of an old packaging center built around the turn of the century. The Brewery will transform the 9,200-square-foot building into the Genesee Brew House, which will celebrate the storied history and experience of the Genesee brand. The proposal for the complex includes a working microbrewery with an adjacent tour and tasting area that offers a first-hand look and taste of the brewing process.
On the second floor, a 45-foot long bar will pay homage to Genesee Beer. Homemade gourmet sandwiches and pub-style food will be available at a counter. Indoor seating will accommodate 80 people, while an outdoor deck and rooftop patio will provide the most spectacular and uninhibited views of High Falls. Once completed, the Genesee Brew House will create another 10 jobs.
According to Janine Schoos, brand manager for Genesee Beer, the Genesee Brew House will help tell the story of a resilient company with a rich history that dates back to 1878. “Genesee has withstood the test of time. The brewery survived Prohibition, the Great Depression, two world wars and countless eras in American history,” said Schoos. “Today, Genesee is regaining its standing in the beer industry. And it’s winning over people across the United States. We want to tell that story.
“We have an initial layout and theme developed but we’re working on the individual elements,” said Schoos. “For months, we have been collecting and organizing our history, artifacts and
story so that we can tell it in a way that engages people. We will create a place that immerses people in our culture and helps them truly experience Genesee in a way that is memorable.”
The Genesee Brew House is slated to open in early summer of 2012, pending approval of all applications, permits and licenses. “We hope to begin construction soon,” said Schoos.
During the construction phase, the Genesee Brew House will create work for regional building trades and supportive service firms. The following local firms have been retained: Eric Mower and Associates; Hanlon Architects; Herrick-Saylor Engineers, P.C.; and Marathon Engineering. Upon full project approval, a local general contractor will be named. That contractor will oversee a unionized workforce of local laborers.
“The Genesee Brewery is an incredible part of our rich history and this exciting Genesee Brew House project will help ensure that the Brewery remains a vibrant part of our future,” said Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks. “In addition to revitalizing a section of Downtown, this project will positively impact our local economy through job creation, investments in existing infrastructure, and the attraction of tourists. This is a win-win for Monroe County and I thank North American Breweries for their continued commitment to our community.”
“The plan to build a Brew House on the Genesee Brewery campus is further testament of the renewed success of the proud Genesee Beer brand, which is so closely tied to the history of our city,” said Rochester Mayor Thomas S. Richards. “This is a welcome investment and one more sign that downtown Rochester is on the rise. I am grateful for North American Breweries’ continued confidence in our city and am proud to support this project. I look forward to pouring the first pint.”
The Project Hinges on Removal of Two Brewery-Owned Buildings
A complete and thorough assessment of all the buildings on the Genesee Brewery site was conducted to determine: their feasibility for restoration; useable space; and costs to stabilize the structures. After careful review, the Genesee Brew House development requires removal of two buildings on the brewery grounds. The buildings, which have been abandoned for more than a quarter century, are beyond reasonable repair and pose safety issues for hundreds of employees and visitors daily. The buildings have been for sale for an extensive amount of time. During that period, the buildings were also thoroughly evaluated by engineers, architects and dozens of developers. While numerous parties expressed interest in the buildings, there were no viable offers. Brewery officials and experts concluded that significant damage to the roof and infrastructure, among many other structural issues would require millions of dollars in repairs.
“The buildings pose significant safety issues to our employees and potential visitors,” said Rich Lozyniak, CEO of North American Breweries. “The roof has caved in, the structures are bad and they are beyond reasonable repair. We can’t create a Brew House that will attract people to this area, without taking down these buildings.
Beyond the structural issues, the vacant buildings attract criminal activity. “People break into the buildings and squat there. It’s typical to find drug paraphernalia and garbage all over the ground. A few months ago, two of our employees were mugged in that area. The buildings block the street view,” said Lozyniak. “We want to make this a safe and beautifully developed area where people want to come. We hope this is a project that Rochestarians can get behind.”
Total Project Amenities
The Genesee Brew House project serves as a catalyst for cleaning up and developing the Northeast side of Rochester’s High Falls district, an area that has been neglected for more than 25 years. This development project will:
- Create a park-like setting for Rochestarians and tourists
- Provide unobstructed views of the beautiful and scenic High Falls
- Create safe and ample downtown parking that will make it easier for people to access High Falls
- Help capture and communicate the rich brewing history of the Genesee Brewery in Rochester, New York
- Create a destination for beer lovers, history buffs and more
- Clean up the area that sits across the street from another $3.2 million development
History of North American Breweries Investment in Rochester
To date, North American Breweries has invested about $20 million in its Rochester facilities. The investments have included brewery upgrades, new installation of state-of-the-art machinery, energy efficiency upgrades, new technology and more. The investments have led to the creation of nearly 250 new jobs in Rochester. Another $2.6 million is planned for the Genesee Brew House, which will immediately create 10 more positions.
In 2012, North American Breweries plans to invest $14 million in upgrades and installations in its Rochester site.
“We want to transform our neighborhood from a forgotten and neglected area to a place where people want to come,” said Lozyniak.
“This project is the catalyst for radical neighborhood improvements that will open up access to the under-utilized High Falls, while providing a place where people can discover Rochester’s rich brewing history,” said Lozyniak. “The Genesee Brew House showcases Genesee’s heritage and tradition and allows people to experience it in an entirely new way. We will create a destination with all the amenities to attract people downtown.”
About The Genesee Brewery:
The Genesee Brewery, based in Rochester, New York, is one of the largest and oldest continually operating breweries in the United States and is part of North American Breweries. In 2010, the Genesee Brewery earned the AIB Recognition of Accomplishment, a nationally recognized industry designation for quality excellence in food, beverage, and brewing manufacturing practices and product safety. The brewery makes the classic Genesee line of beers, Seagram’s Escapes, the Original Honey Brown Lager as well as Dundee Ales and Lagers family of craft beers. The Genesee Brewery also manufactures beer and other alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages under contracts on behalf of other companies.