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News of Otsego County

Cooperstown Distillery

Pat Ryan Visits Cooperstown and Cooperstown Distillery

Pat Ryan Visits Cooperstown
and Cooperstown Distillery

Sam Aldridge

Gene Marra, owner of Cooperstown Distillery, left, and Pat Ryan, right, at Cooperstown Distillery on July 15

With political tensions simmering one degree below boiling this summer, the very first special election for public office is taking place here in District 19 between Pat Ryan (D) and Marc Molinaro (R) on August 23. Ryan visited Cooperstown on Friday, meeting with officials from Bassett Hospital, touring the Hall of Fame, and tasting the spirits of Cooperstown Distillery.

“I had really good conversations with healthcare leaders, the town supervisor and mayor, and others. The big issues that stood out are affordable housing and the need for real investment in water and sewer infrastructure,” said Ryan, speaking in the shade of a tree on Railroad Ave.

Rep. Delgado, top SBA official tour Otsego County sites

Rep. Delgado, top SBA official tour Otsego sites

Biden Cabinet member touts post-pandemic recovery plans

U.S. Small Business Administration chief Isabella Casillas Guzman, right, chats at the Baseball Hall of Fame with, from left, Hall of Fame President Josh Rawitch, Vice President Eric Strohl, and Congressman Antonio Delgado during a March 4 tour of small businesses in Cooperstown.

SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, a member of President Joe Biden’s cabinet, stopped first with the Congressman at Cooperstown Distillery, joined there by village Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh, Otsego County Treasurer Allen Ruffles, and regional SBA officials. Distillery owner Gene Marra hosted the tour.

“We believe in local small businesses,” Mr. Marra told the delegation. “We use local grains from our farm in Canajoharie and from Rochester, we get our barrels from Remsen. It’s a complete New York thing.”

He pointed to assistance from the Village and the SBA in his work to expand his Railroad Avenue business from 3,000 to 12,000 square feet; Rep. Delgado noted the expansion of the craft beverage marketplace as important to upstate New York’s economy.

“Agritourism is big business in this part of the country,” Mr. Marra agreed. As he displayed the Distillery’s exclusive baseball, football, and golf club-shaped bottles, he noted, “The Wall Street Journal is calling New York the ‘Kentucky of the North’ because we’re distilling so much world-class bourbon. There are 90 distilleries here now, of course, ours is the best of them!”

Rep. Delgado and Administrator Guzman next visited Cooperstown Bat, a manufacturer of game-ready baseball bats for players of all ages and the third-oldest bat company in the United States.

Head of US SBA tours Cooperstown with Congressman Delgado

Biden Administration Cabinet member visits Cooperstown

Tours key locations with Rep. Delgado

The head of President Joe Biden’s Small Business Administration, Isabella Casillas Guzman, spent the afternoon of Friday, March 4 in Cooperstown with Congressman Antonio Delgado hosting a tour of some of the Village’s best-known small businesses. Along with Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh and Otsego County Treasurer Allen Ruffles, the group discussed the president’s key infrastructure initiative, SBA outreach, pandemic relief and recovery, and other issues before convening a small business forum at Cooperstown Village Hall. Here, from left to right, Rep. Delgado, Mayor Tillapaugh, Baseball Hall of Fame President Josh Rawitch, and Administrator Casillas Guzman listen as Eric Strohl, Vice President of Exhibits and Collections at the Hall of Fame, shares details of the ‘women in baseball’ exhibit on permanent display at the Hall. Earlier in the afternoon, the group visited Cooperstown Distillery on Railroad Avenue and Cooperstown Bat Company on Main Street. We’ll have a full story on the afternoon coming up in the March 10 print and on-line editions of The Freeman’s Journal / Hometown Oneonta / allotsego.com.

Cooperstown Distillery celebrates expansion with ribbon cutting while touting local businesses

Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh, left, and Eugene Marra cut the ceremonial ribbon in front of Cooperstown Distillery. (Kevin Limiti/Allotsego)

Cooperstown Distillery celebrates expansion
with ribbon cutting,
while touting local businesses

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

COOPERSTOWN – The mood was jovial Saturday, June 12, as about 60 people, including elected officials state Sen. Peter Oberacker, R-Schenevus, Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh and State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, gathered outside the Cooperstown Distillery on Railroad Avenue for a ribbon cutting ceremony for the opening of the expansion to celebrate what is considered a big success for local businesses in particular and a revitalization of Railroad Avenue specifically.

Eugene Marra, the founder of Cooperstown Distillery, began with an emotional moment on losing his dad to the coronavirus. He said his dad was his “biggest fan and number one investor in this opportunity.”

However, the atmosphere was celebratory.

“It’s an auspicious occasion for sure,” Marra said. “As much as I want to claim it as my own, I want to share it all with you because you have made it possible,” Marra said.

Eugene Marra, founder of Cooperstown Distillery, speaks in front of the Distillery ahead of the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Marra spoke at length about the trials and tribulations of opening the expanded brewery on Railroad Avenue. He talked about how COVID had delayed the opening a year and how the distillery was tasked with producing hand sanitizer during that time.

He also mentioned how he was initially told by real estate agents that opening a distillery in Cooperstown was not possible.

“I like to believe we are responsible for what has become a revitalization of Railroad Avenue,” Marra said, saying that industry on that street in years past, “appeared to be dead.”

Marra said that Cooperstown Distillery, which has been around for eight years, is the “story about how it takes a village … the village of Cooperstown.”

Marra said he was loaned about $100,000 and received state fund grants of about $80,000, citing that his success was thanks to “local money.”

“We all hear these phrases, buy local, shop local, stay local. We are all of that,” Marra said, calling the Cooperstown Distillery the “fabric of this community on a very local, grassroots level.”

“We wouldn’t want to be anywhere else than the village of Cooperstown,” Marra said.

Tillapaugh said the Cooperstown Distillery is a business “in which the village takes a great deal of pride.”

She noted how the village implemented zoning law changes in order to help grow businesses.

“I certainly know what this Railroad Avenue looked like for decades,” Tillapaugh said.

She noted it was once not considered industrially viable, but that developments on the street, including the distillery and the Railroad Inn, created “positive synergy.”

DiNapoli joked he didn’t accept the invitation “because of the complimentary drinks,” but was happy to come because of how difficult a year it had been.

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli speaks in front of Cooperstown Distillery. (Kevin Limiti/Allotsego.com).

DiNapoli said that while Cooperstown is known for its Baseball Hall of Fame and Fenimore art museum that “the distillery becomes yet another reason to visit.”

“This really was an incredible effort with all stakeholders playing their role. That’s usually not how it happens,” DiNapoli said. “This is the model that should be replicated.”

DiNapoli said he was going to go back to Albany and tell other lawmakers to “look to what happened in Cooperstown as an example of how it should work” in terms of state funding for local businesses.

After the ceremony, people took a tour of the distillery.

 

 

Photos: Rep. Antonio Delgado visits Cooperstown Distillery

Photos: Rep. Antonio Delgado visits Cooperstown Distillery

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Cooperstown Distillery Set To Open Store In Saratoga

Cooperstown Distillery Set

To Open Store In Saratoga

Gene Marra

The Cooperstown Distillery is about to open a store in the heart of vibrant Saratoga Springs – 453 Broadway – Proprietor Gene Marra said this morning, with a “soft opening” perhaps as soon as the end of this week.  “It’s a dream come true,” said Marra.   Visitors from Otsego County will find a locale quite similar to the distillery’s Beverage Exchange at Main and Pioneer streets in downtown Cooperstown, he said.  Along with the expansion of the Railroad Avenue distillery, “this is the most exciting thing to happen to us this year,” said Marra, adding, “It’s always been part of our business plan.”  In particular, the vitality of Saratoga’s downtown and the affluence of the community attracted the Cooperstown-based company.  As at the Beverage Exchange locally, updated state laws allow the new facility to sell drinks on site, and package goods as well.  (Photo courtesy Cooperstown Distillery)

Mac Benton Is Joining Cooperstown Distillery

Mac Benton Is Joining

Cooperstown Distillery

Trustee Resigns From Elections Post

Mac Benton

COOPERSTOWN – MacGuire Benton announced a few minutes ago he is resigning as assistant Democratic elections commissioner at the Otsego County Board of Elections to join Cooperstown Distillery.

Benton, a Cooperstown village trustee, said he’s joining the growing company as the New York Brand Ambassador, working on strategic sales to expand the distillery’s brands across the Empire State.

He said he will continue to live in Cooperstown, “and plan on continuing my service to the village.”

Cooper’s Clean About Gone, But More Coming Next Week

Cooper’s Clean About Gone,

But More Coming Next Week

Sid Parisian, along with Deb Parisian, were up from Oneonta this afternoon to partake of Cooperstown’s latest novelty, Cooper’s Clean, a hand sanitizer created by the Cooperstown Distillery to help combat the hand-sanitizer shortage that is being distributed for free.  Handing out the 4-ounce bottles at the Cooperstown Beverage Exchange at Main and Pioneer is the distillery’s new marketing director, Tamara Sines, a SUNY Oneonta grad. As of a few minutes ago, only 10 bottles were left of the 200 filled today. A new batch is expected to be ready some times next week. (JIm Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

Distillery To Distribute Hand Sanitizer At 3 p.m.

IT’S COOPER’S CLEAN VS. CORONA-19

Distillery To Distribute

Hand Sanitizer At 3 p.m.

The 4-ounce glass bottles arriveD at Cooperstown Distillery this morning, and at this hour Distiller Daran Bottger, assisted by Gina Baldwin, is bottling the Cooper’s Clean hand sanitizer. The distillery will begin distributing Cooper’s Clean at 3 p.m. today at the Cooperstown Beverage Exchange, 73 Main St., next to the flagpole in downtown Cooperstown. (It will NOT be available at the distillery.) (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

Cooperstown Distillery To Manufacture, Give Away Hand Sanitizer

CORONAVIRUS EDITION

Cooperstown Distillery

To Manufacture, Give

Away Hand Sanitizer

Cooperstown Distillery proprietor Gene Marra unveils the “Cooper’s Clean” label. Distiller Daran Bottger looks on. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

COOPERSTOWN – Gene Marra, the entrepreneurial founder of Cooperstown Distillery, has found a need and plans to fill it.
Hand sanitizers.

He’s ordered 200 four-ounce bottle – they arrived today – and plans to fill it with a 160-percent alcohol
mixture. “Essentially vodka,” he said.

On Friday, he should be distributing them at no cost and see how it goes.

And the producer of Cooper’s Legacy Bourbon has come up with a logical name: Cooper’s Clean.

Construction Underway For Distillery Expansion

Construction Underway

For Distillery Expansion

Excavator Jesse Boest operates a backhoe behind the Cooperstown Distillery, where a $400,000 expansion is underway. The project, which began approximately two weeks ago, is headed by Tom Howard Construction. Among the plans are a large addition to the facility, including the installation of a “rick house,” a warehouse used for the storage and aging of whiskey. (James Cummings/AllOTSEGO.com)

NYSEG Adds Power At Cooperstown Distillery

MANUFACTURER UP TO 4 STILLS

NYSEG Adds Power At

Cooperstown Distillery

Two NYSEG crews have been at the Cooperstown Distillery all morning, increasing the power flow to the expanding manufacturing operation. “They’re giving us the amps we need,” said distillery proprietor Gene Marra. In the past few months, the distillery has expanded from one to four stills, which require heat to create a range of products from Glimmerglass Vodka to Beanball Bourbon. The distillery is planning expanded parking and adding a second floor of the building at Railroad and Leatherstocking to meet the demand. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

Cooperstown Distillery Unveils Plan To Double Its Plant, Hired 10 More

Cooperstown Distillery

Unveils Plan To Double

Its Plant, Hire 10 More

Cooperstown Distillery proprietor Gene Marra poses by one of two new stills installed in February in anticipation of doubling the size of the Railroad Avenue plant. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By LIBBY CUDMORE • The Freeman’s Journal & Hometown Oneonta

COOPERSTOWN – With five years of success behind it, the Cooperstown Distillery is looking ahead and planning to more than double the size of its plant on Railroad Avenue.

“We outgrew our space many years ago,” proprietor Gene Marra told the Village Board on Monday, March 25. “Our production has been limited by our physical space.”

The planned 7,500-square-foot expansion will more than double the building’s existing footprint on the back portion of their Railroad Avenue lot, adding a “rackhouse” for storing barrels of whiskey and bourbon, as well as second-floor production space.

Cooperstown Distillery Plans To Double In Size

Cooperstown Distillery

Plans To Double In Size

Gene Marra, proprietor, Cooperstown Distillery, explained his plan to double the size of his distillery and add as many as 10 full-time jobs. The expansion, from 3,500 square feet to 7,500, including second floor production space. Marra, along with partner Andrew Gilcrest and Jody Zakrevsky, CEO, asked for “pre-pre-approval” from the Village in hopes that they would assist him in applying for a $60,000 grant to create jobs for “low-to-moderate income level” employees, meaning that the jobs created do not require a college degree. The board agreed to support the project, and asked him to give them a project outline to begin the application process. (Libby Cudmore/AllOTSEGO.com)

Cooperstown Distillery Adds 2 New Stills, More

Cooperstown Distillery

Adds 2 New Stills, More

Cooperstown Distillery Distiller Daran Bottger, center, directs installation of a new 500-gallon still this morning at the Railroad Avenue plant. The still was one of two – the second is 150 gallons – installed to help meet demand, according to proprietor Gene Marra, at left.  The distillery also installed three new fermentation tanks.  Two lines in particular – Legacy Bourbon and Legacy Rye – sell out every year, Marra said. “It’s going to be a big turning point in who we are, what we are,” he said. The distillery celebrated its fifth anniversary in October. (Larissa Ryan/AllOTSEGO.com)

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21 Railroad Ave. Cooperstown, New York 13326 • (607) 547-6103