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Triple threat

Five & 20 Spirits Looks To Operate Unique Brewery In Westfield

April 3, 2014
By Daniel Swanson - editorial@westfieldrepublican.com , Westfield Republican / Mayville Sentinel News

A Westfield business is soon to be one of only a handful of businesses in the country to produce wine, beer and spirits in a single location.

Five & 20 Spirits, located at 8398 W. Main Road, Route 20 in Westfield, is Mazza Vineyards' new main location in Chautauqua County, housing Mazza Chautauqua Cellars as well as the Five & 20 Spirits distillery.

According to Robert Mazza, president of Mazza Vineyards, he and his son, Mario, vice president and general manager, have submitted the permit application for Five & 20 Brewing with hopes of operating at the Westfield location in 2014.

Article Photos

Joe Nelson, distiller at Five & 20 Spirits, with a 105-gallon copper-pot still, originally imported by German maker Christian Carl.
Photo by R. Frank Photography

The brewery will focus on a "grain-to-glass" approach, with beer made from local ingredients grown on-site.

"We will have a 10-barrel brewery - each batch will be 330 gallons," Mazza said, noting that it will not be an especially large brewery. "What is neat is that we will be one of only a few locations in the country that will be licensed to have all three - spirits, beer and wine - at the same location."

Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently announced the number of New York's farm-based beverage licenses for distilleries, wineries, breweries and cideries has risen 72 percent since 2011 and has been promoting legislation that will allow the industry to grow.

"I believe to a large extent, that's what has happened," Mazza said of the industry's growth due to the legislation, noting that there is still more work to be done.

Despite the fact that Mazza Chautauqua Cellars was involved with distilling before the recent legislation was enacted, it still benefits from the reforms.

"The lowering of the permit fee is extremely helpful to us," Mazza said. "The state Liquor Authority is also much more responsive now in processing applications in a timely fashion."

Mazza said that he plans to attend the Wine, Beer and Spirits Summit again this year, an event that began in 2012.

The summit is held in Albany to provide a forum for producers, farmers, industry officials and tourism experts to meet with state agency officials and members of the governor's cabinet regarding legislative and other issues surrounding the industry.

Following the first summit, various regulatory reforms were enacted, including eliminating the prohibition on holding more than one manufacturer's license on the same premises. Thus, the reforms expanded opportunities for craft manufacturers to sell and provide samples of their products at special events and allowed craft manufacturers to sell by the bottle when conducting tastings.

Other reforms included the elimination of the duplicative $400 permit for farm distillers and farm brewers, allowing the issuance of one-day special-event permits to craft brewers and reducing the supplier/marketing permit fees from $750 for three years to $125 per year.

"The tremendous growth in the farm-based beverage industry over the past three years is a testament to how state government is creating new economic opportunities for local businesses to grow and thrive," Cuomo said.

According to Mazza, he has been involved in distilling spirits for years and understands the growth potential for the industry.

"The Five & 20 brand was developed recently, but we had been making spirits in our Mayville location since 2006," Mazza said. At the small distilling operation in Mayville, Mazza produced fruit-based products, including Eau de Vie, grappa and spirits for fortified wines, although Five & 20 is specifically focused on grain-based products.

After the Mazza Chautauqua Cellars became more involved with distilling, it became clear that the business would need to expand - eventually becoming Five & 20 Spirits.

"We just needed more land - we couldn't do it on 5 acres," he said. "The Westfield location offers 117 acres."

The original Mazza location in the county, 4717 Chautauqua Stedman Road in Mayville, is now the Mazza Chautauqua Cellars Tasting Room, Wine Shop & Cafe.

"We wanted to maintain the Mayville location," Mazza said. "At that location we offer tastings of our wines, as well as a seasonal cafe that caters to area residents and visitors. We consider it a retail outlet."

Five & 20 currently offers two small-batch products, a corn whiskey and a rye whiskey - both made from local ingredients and distilled in a 105-gallon copper-pot still, originally imported by German maker Christian Carl.

"It's our intent to grow as much as possible on location," Mazza said. "Right now, Vilardo Vineyards next door is also planting wheat for us. The idea of 'grain-to-glass' is to have the majority of the grain we use grown on-site or on adjacent properties."

Mazza also said that in the coming months, Five & 20 Spirits plans to unveil several new products. The distillery is currently looking into producing limoncello, bourbon and bierschnaps.

For more information about Five & 20 Spirits, visit www.fiveand20.com.

 
 

 

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