Ommegang, Roscoe take home top prize in state craft brew competition

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Gov. Andrew Cuomo and famed chef Mario Batali raise their glasses at the inaugural Taste NY Craft Brew Challenge.

ALBANY, N.Y. (WIVB) – Brewery Ommegang  from Cooperstown and Roscoe N.Y. Beer Co. were the winning “draft picks” in the inaugural “Taste NY Craft Beer Challenge” Wednesday.

The two breweries were picked as the best-tasting beer among five breweries from across NYS. The other breweries in the running were Genesee Brewing in Rochester, Prison City Pub and Brewery in Auburn, and Southern Tier Brewing Company in Lakewood. The five contestants received the most votes during an online vote.

The judging panel included famous chef Mario Batali, former Buffalo Bill Thurman Thomas, Bon Appetit test kitchen manager Brad Leone, senior digital editor for Food and Wine Magazine Noah Kaufmann, certified cicerone, writer and beer director for Treadwell Park in New York City; and Mary Izett, co-host of “Fuhmentaboudit!” on Heritage Radio Network. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo was supposed to be the seventh judge in the contest, but he excused himself from voting.

“I don’t want to be responsible for voting against any New York beer,” Cuomo said. “I am self-eliminating myself because I am biased- I want all five to win.”

Cuomo said that the craft beer industry in New York has grown tremendously over the past few years.

“Six years ago, there were 50 breweries,” Cuomo said “Today there are over 320. Just think about that.”

The beer, cider and wine industry in New York is a $30 billion business, Cuomo added.

Before Prohibition, New York State was one of the largest beer producers in the United States.

“Albany was the brewing hub in the country- Rochester had 50 breweries,” the governor said. “We have been working very hard to bring back that industry.” provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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