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Experts Say City is Experiencing Renaissance in Brewing

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Beer lovers and experts say the city is experiencing a renaissance in brewing.
NY1's Michael Herzenberg filed the following report.

Science and art combine in craft, gaining steam through the five boroughs.

Rudy Tauscher recently opened Paulaner Bräuhaus.

"We think that Manhattan is a great market to start our model," Tauscher says.

"There's a current beer revolution or a renaissance going on right now," said Nick Whitmer, who runs a beer tour through some of the city's older breweries, like the Chelsea Brewing Company, founded in 1995, and the newer ones.

"It's pretty impressive, the amount of breweries popping up every day in this area, and considering the history," Whitmer said.

The history dates back to 1609, three years before Henry Hudson's big voyage. Another navigator founded a brewery on the southern tip of what would later become Manhattan. Beer back then was sometimes safer to drink than water.

One hundred seventy years later, an account book shows that a city brewer sold suds to both sides in the Revolutionary War.

In the next century, breweries multiplied, aided by fresh water and German immigration. The number of breweries grew to roughly 100 in the 19th century, and Frederick Schaefer's stretched into the 20th century, although prohibition eliminated many others.

"By 1977, there were zero," Whitmer said. "There was a financial crisis."

Nowhere was worse off than the Big Apple. President Gerald Ford released money to help the city, but it was President Jimmy Carter who later opened the beer taps by legalizing home brewing.

We've seen breweries pop up in each borough since the mid-'80s. The State Brewers Association says that the city has about a dozen, with a dozen more on the way, some incentivized by farm brewery legislation signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

"The nice thing about this part of the legislation is, you don't necessarily have to grow the hops and barley yourself. You can buy New York State-grown barley and hops," said David Katleski, president of the New York Staten Brewers Association and the owner of Empire Brewing Company.

Paulaner Bräuhaus buys its grains from Germany, the same place it gets its brewer. They say they will be happy to purchase beer ingredients locally as the state's farming industry matures.

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