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News of Otsego County

Cooperstown Distillery

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)
Sporty Morgans Back In County

Sporty Morgans Back In County

In advance of Saturday’s Autumn Mog 2017, owners of vintage English Morgan sports cars gathered at the Cooperstown Distillery this afternoon to begin their weekend of fun. Standing by their cars are, from left, Warren and Judy Mann of Bedford, N.H., with a 1989 4/4, Barrie and Mara Abrams of Mamaroneck, Westchester County, with the 2003 anniversary model, and Scott Willoughby and Kate Hartley, North Creek, with their 1995 8+8. Some 50 Morgans are expected to be on display at the 3/4 Morgan Group Concours d’elegance 9-noon tomorrow on Hyde Hall’s front lawn. Admission free, but tours of the National Historic Mansion will also be available. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

 

Business Owners To Trustees: Bring Back Sandwich Boards

Business Owners To Trustees:

Bring Back Sandwich Boards

Gene Marra, owner of Cooperstown Beverage Exchange and the Cooperstown Distillery, reads a letter from his wife, Montell, asking the Cooperstown Village Board to reconsider their ruling making sandwich boards illegal. “If not for the ‘open’ flag, a pot of flowers and a sandwich board stating ‘complimentary tasting/ tours, a passerby might merely think our building was only a factory,” she wrote. “Please allow us a real-time way of attracting business.” Several local business owners spoke, and the board agreed to hold a public hearing on the law at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 8 (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Hartwick College Declared Otsego Now ‘Partner Of Year’

Hartwick College Declared

Otsego Now ‘Partner Of Year’

Hartwick College President Margaret L. Drugovich accepts applause this morning as it was announced the college is Otsego Now's "Partner of the Year" for 2015. Seated from left are Otsego Now directors Jim Jordan, Richfield Springs, and Bob Harlem, Oneonta. (Jim Kevlni/AllOTSEGO.com)
Hartwick College President Margaret L. Drugovich accepts applause this morning as it was announced the college is Otsego Now’s “Partner of the Year” for 2015. Seated from left are Otsego Now directors Jim Jordan, Richfield Springs, and Len Marsh and Bob Harlem, both of Oneonta. (Jim Kevlni/AllOTSEGO.com)
Past Otsego Now chair Bob Hanft, Pierstown, reports on 2015 progress. At left is Devin Morgan, Cooperstown, who succeeded Hanft at year's end.
Past Otsego Now chair Bob Hanft, Pierstown, reports on 2015 progress. At left is Devin Morgan, Cooperstown, who succeeded Hanft at year’s end.

COOPERSTOWN – Hartwick College is Otsego Now’s “Partner of the Year,” Bob Hanft, past chairman of the organization, announced at the county IDA’s annual meeting this morning in the Cooperstown Distillery.

Hanft cited two projects in particular that led to the designation:

• One, the college’s plan to renovate dorms and building 72 town homes, an effort that involved $39 million in IDA bonding.  President Margaret Drugovich, who was present, has said the project will bring many of the 300-400 undergrads back into the “campus community” to experience that important aspect of a residential liberal arts education.

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