Northern Eagle Plans Seek More Economic, Ag Growth

Northern Eagle Plans Seek More Economic, Ag Growth

Edition of Thursday-Friday, Sept. 25-26

Editor’s Note: Northern Eagle Beverages President George Allen delivered these remarks Thursday, Sept. 18, at the ground-breaking on an 82,000-square-foot brewery and warehouse on Browne Street, Town of Oneonta, a hops-to-taps collaboration of the Hager family’s Northern Eagle, Cooperstown Brewery Co. and Hager Hops.

The vision for the future started in July 2012 when a new site was being considered in the Pony Farm Industrial Park. That location didn’t work out, so the search went on.

In January 2013, then-Otsego County Economic Developer Carolyn Lewis suggested the OCDC property between UPS and Ioxus. The site was viewed and a decision made to acquire the land. In August 2013, the purchase of the 11-plus-acre lot was complete.

During that time, Northern Eagle Beverages’ chairman Lou Hager and his children, Louis, Alicia and Whit, decided it was time to bring a family tradition home once again – growing hops. Plans were made and today Hager Hops, located just outside of Cooperstown, is the largest hop yard in New York State.

But now, what to do with the hops? In November 2013, a hop pelletizer, capable of processing over 200 pounds of pelletized hops per hour, was purchased by Northern Eagle. It is today the only one in New York State that can pelletize hops at low temperatures, preserving the oils that brewers desire.

A nitrogen flush Mylar packaging machine was purchased in July to allow Northern Eagle hop processing and pelletizing to package the pelletized hops in a form that brewers demanded. To date, Northern Eagle has processed several tons of hops, most from New York State, but some from as far away as just outside of Philadelphia.

So we have hops growing and a way to pelletize and package them. Now what? Enter Cooperstown Brewing Co.

Negotiations started in late November 2013 to purchase the brewery that was started in 1995 by Milford native Stan Hall. On April 1, 2014, the purchase was complete and Northern Eagle became the first distributor in the country to own its own brewery.

So that is why we are here today. All of these businesses needed a new place to call home.

A state of the art, temperature-controlled warehouse facility will house the beer – and soon-to-be wine – distribution business. The hop processing will have its own area in the building to process an ever-growing New York State hop industry.

The Cooperstown Brewery will also have a new place to call home. Plans are calling for a state-of-the-art brew house that will allow Cooperstown Brewery to function as a New York State Farm Brewery, allowing Cooperstown Brewery to sell numerous New York State products in its gift shop.

All of these plans focus on one factor. We must have more economic and agricultural growth for the area. Northern Eagle is investing in the future. Beer is not going anywherre. And the hops speak for themselves.

We need other businesses to invest as well. We need cities and towns to invest in the people that live here now and, more important, the people who will hopefully move here and see what Central New York has to offer.
This is an exciting time for Northern Eagle Beverages, Cooperstown Brewing and Otsego County.

Let’s toast to the future.