Ellicottville Brewing is expanding their portfolio with the purchase of former Upstate New York brewery Empire Brewing, which shut down last fall. Empire Brewing’s brewpub headquarters in Syracuse’s Armory Square closed in October after it lost its lease and the Empire Farm Brewery in Cazenovia closed soon after it was purchased in a bankruptcy auction. Following the major acquisition, Empire beer will return to draft towers this month, while cans will be available by April.

According to reports, a number of Empire beers, including Black Magic Nitro Stout, Skinny Atlas Light (a kölsch) and Local Grind (a coffee ale), will be returning to the market following the acquisition. Additionally, a new Empire beer, State of Mind New England IPA, is in production at Ellicottville.

Ellicottville Brewing recently completed a major expansion project in Little Valley, NY to allow it to increase capacity. The multi-million dollar project was the next phase for the Western New York brand whose main brewery is attached to its Ellicottville, NY headquarters. The Little Valley Project followed a large expansion at its main location in 2012 and the addition of a new brew pub in Bemus Point in 2016.

EBC Founder and Owner Peter Kreinheder says that the driving force behind the new acquisition was to keep the Empire brand and name alive, while aiding in the growth of Ellicottville Brewing’s distribution throughout New York, especially the central region, and the surrounding states.

“The combined company will allow EBC through the Empire Brand to really get a foothold in Central New York,” Kreinheder says. “I really love the age and depth of Empire’s brand and believed that it needed to live on. With the Little Valley expansion behind us, it was the perfect time to take on the new brand. Our team and capacity will allow us to continue the growth of the Ellicottville brand in NY, Pennsylvania, Ohio and points west and the Empire Brand in NY, PA, New Jersey and points east.”

He adds that the new deal should increase their annual production by approximately 30 percent or about 5,000 barrels. EBC currently produces approximately 14,000 annually. The combined company will move Ellicottville Brewing beyond 20,000 barrels in the next few years.

“I’ve known Empire’s founder David Kateleski for many years, and David plowed the path for many of us NYS Brewers by helping found the NYS Craft Brewers Association,” Kreinheder adds. “The 50 years of experience that David and I bring to the table will be a great asset for our employees and customers as we move forward.”

Empire was founded in 1994, while Ellicottville Brewing was founded in 1995. For more information, please visit https://ellicottvillebrewing.com/.

Brian Campbell is a co-founder/Brand Manager of the BNBAs enthusiast arm, Buffalo Beer League, and writes the weekly Buffalo Beer Buzz column. If you have beer news that should be included in the Beer Buzz, Brian can be reached at buffalobeerleague@aol.com, on Twitter (@buffbeerleague), Instagram (@buffalobeerleague), Facebook (@thebuffalobeerleague) and www.buffalobeerleague.com.