Craft beverage industry in Jefferson County to be spotlighted in ‘I Love NY … – WatertownDailyTimes.com

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CLAYTON — Wineries, breweries and distilleries across Jefferson County will get a boost from a state-funded “I Love NY” campaign to promote the craft beverage industry.

The 18-month marketing campaign, which will begin this month, was made possible by the Clayton Local Development Corp. The organization received a $182,000 Craft Beverage Industry Tourism Promotion Grant in August from Empire State Development. The grant was matched by $40,000 from the 1000 Islands International Tourism Council, which will lead the project.

The project — part of the state-led “I Love NY” tourism campaign — will promote at least 13 craft-beverage businesses countywide, according to the tourism council. It calls for four main components:

Online videos will be produced to promote individual businesses and the region’s industry as a whole. The production of videos, which will begin this fall, is expected to be done by Le JIT Productions, Brooklyn. The firm, whose owners have ties to the 1000 Islands region, specializes in producing short commercials for the hospitality industry.

A social media consultant will be hired in 2016 to promote businesses on social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Additionally, online advertising will be purchased to promote the industry on social media platforms.

A promotional booklet on craft-beverage tourism experiences in the region will be produced. About 50,000 booklets will be distributed at rest stops in the state along Interstate 90 and Interstate 81; booklets also will be distributed at stops along I-81 in Pennsylvania.

A 30-second television commercial will be produced to air in the fall of 2016. The commercial will be targeted toward markets in Rochester and Syracuse, along with Scranton and Harrisburg, Pa.

The campaign is expected to be a “big boost” for Clayton Distillery, which has a limited marketing budget, co-owner Michael L. Aubertine said. He said the campaign is an example of how the state has been highly supportive of the craft beverage industry.

The project will spotlight the burgeoning industry in Jefferson County in a manner similar to the Finger Lakes region’s, he said. The Finger Lakes has a reputation as the state’s frontrunner in craft beverages.

“I think this will give us a broader reach by bringing more people to the area,” Mr. Aubertine said, adding the distillery’s products are now sold at 110 stores across upstate New York. “This should also encourage people to buy products at their home location, if they’re available.

The launch of the marketing campaign comes as the business on Route 12, which opened in 2013, plans to expand soon into New York City markets, he said. Its products are expected to be rolled out in 260 stores in the suburbs of the Big Apple this fall. And next year, products will be distributed at stores in the city’s metropolitan area.

Cape Vincent businessman David B. Fralick, who launched Cape Winery in 2013 with wife Sandra L., said he believes the marketing campaign will lure visitors from Central and Western New York. The effort isn’t focused on attracting Canadians, he said, because they can take home only a limited number of alcoholic beverages bought in the U.S.

“We can get Canadians to come here but they really can’t buy, so we have to look to the south and southwest to bring people up to us,” he said. “I think this is going to be a good shot in the arm for the whole industry.”

The Clayton LDC planned the project to promote the industry’s businesses in the town and across the county, said Town Supervisor Justin A. Taylor, who serves as treasurer of the corporation’s board.

“Clayton has three of the major craft beverage businesses: Coyote Moon Winery, Clayton Distillery and Wood Board Brewery,” he said. “We saw this as a chance to not only market the industry in Clayton but across the region.”

Other businesses being planned in the town of Clayton that could benefit from the marketing campaign are Northern Flow Winery and Grindstone Island Winery.

Gary S. DeYoung, executive director of the tourism council, said the Clayton LDC played a pivotal role in making the project happen. He said the council, which is coordinating the project, couldn’t apply for the grant because tourism agencies are restricted from doing so.

“It needed to be a community or corporation with a craft-beverage development project,” he said, adding that Clayton’s year-round businesses in the industry made it an ideal applicant. “When you look at the geography, Clayton is kind of the center of this thing.”

He added that the intent of the campaign will be to equally promote all craft-beverage businesses in the county. The project calls, for example, for the production of about a dozen online videos, which will profile businesses in different ways.

“Some larger operations may end up with a video on their own, while we might do other videos with groups of businesses that have commonalities,” he said. “We could decide to do the brew pubs as a group.”