Grape Discover Center Welcomes New Brewery as Tenant
Article Contributed by
County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency (CCIDA)
There’s a new brewery in town and its producing some of the hottest brews on the market.
Popular beverages from Seattle-based Ghostfish Brewing Company (GBC) are now in full production at the new East Coast processing and distribution center in Westfield, New York. To celebrate, company representatives and area officials gathered on Thursday, Sept. 28 for a special ribbon cutting ceremony, hosted by the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce.
Surrounded by rolling hills lined with grape vineyards as far as the eye can see, GBC is located within the region’s Grape Discovery Center, the official Visitor’s Center of the Lake Erie Concord Grape Belt, in the heart of the New York-Pennsylvania Wine, Spirits and Craft Beverage Trail, overseen by Lake Erie Wine Country’s (LEWC). Inside its new location, Ghostfish Brewing Company “East” is now brewing its No. 1 top seller, Grapefruit IPA, along with Kick Step IPA and Lunar Harvest. GBC is also on the way to brewing all seven of its flagship brands.
What’s different about this brewery? Led by brewmaster James Maxson, who is guided by Seattle’s brewmaster extraordinaire Reid Ackerman, GBC East is a dedicated, 100% gluten-free focused brewery. And at Ghostfish, “gluten-free” means everything is gluten-free, from the ingredients and processes all the way down to the equipment and utensils. Currently the largest producer of dedicated gluten-free beer in the US by volume, the company currently distributes to 19 US States and four Canadian Provinces.
“Our customer base is well established and extremely loyal,” said company Vice President Matt Swank, who resides in Westfield. “We will use the Westfield location to satisfy existing customers and the steadily increasing demand for Ghostfish products, specifically states east of the Mississippi River and eastern Canadian provinces.”
Ghostfish offers a diverse array of full-flavored beers with seven year-round beers, several rotating seasonal varieties, and multiple special releases. The brand has won almost 30 medals in highly competitive beer competitions, including seven Great American Beer Fest medals and three awards in non-gluten-free categories. GBC was also voted “Best Beer Brand” in the 2017 Gluten Free Buyers Guide, and Grapefruit IPA is the No. 1 selling gluten-free IPA in the U.S. According to Swank, GBC hand selects naturally gluten-free grains, yeast strains, and hops with the upmost care. This leads to boundary-pushing craft beers that delight beer lovers near and far. With friends and relatives personally affected by gluten or wheat intolerance, the owners want everyone to have the ability to enjoy trendy and traditional beers, regardless of gluten or wheat intolerance.
Mark Geise, Deputy Chautauqua County Executive for Economic Development and County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency (CCIDA) CEO reported CCIDA has been involved with and supporting GBC’s expansion from the start. CCIDA provided direct assistance in the form of $165,902 in AL Tech Revolving Loan Fund loans for working capital and equipment purchases, as well as technical assistance and coordination of economic development programs. The Chautauqua Region Economic Development Corporation (CREDC) also successfully secured an $89,000 forgivable loan through New York Housing and Community Renewal.
“Chautauqua County has seen a tremendous increase in the number of breweries and distilleries in the past several years. This new gluten-free brewery is unique and will be yet another new attraction to the county and region,” Geise said.
Geise went on to report that there are additional efforts underway to promote GBC and other local craft beverages, and support their producers in Chautauqua County. CREDC is in the initial planning stages, working with the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau and LEWC, to develop a marketing strategy to promote craft beer breweries and distilleries within Chautauqua County. The strategic collective marketing campaign and brand will align with, complement, and also promote the existing LEWC organization.
“We’re excited to help welcome Ghostfish Brewing to Chautauqua County’s growing craft beverage industry. Their selection of Westfield for Ghostfish’s East Coast presence is a testament to our County’s collaborative approach including CCIDA, the Grape Discovery Center, and many others working together to make this happen,” said Dan Heitzenrater, President and CEO of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce.
PJ Wendel, Chautauqua County executive, welcomed the new business venture.
“We are excited about this further expansion of our beverage processing industry in Chautauqua County, especially by the team with a proven track record. Cohabitating space in the Grape Discovery Center will also draw additional visitors to the Center and region, boosting retail sales and showcasing our agriculture sector,” Wendel said.
On the local level, the Town of Westfield and Westfield Development Corporation have been actively engaged to support the development and local approvals.
“This is a great fit for our community and a wonderful complement to our local Grape Discovery Center and craft beverage trail,” said Martha Bills, Westfield Town Supervisor.
“The Ghostfish Brewery is a wonderful addition to our growing craft beverage industry in Westfield. We are grateful that the assets our community has to offer are a perfect fit for the company and its expansion into our region,” added Don McCord, Executive Director of the Westfield Development Corporation.
While the Westfield brewery will not be open to the public, GBC is working to partner with the Grape Discovery Center, where their beers can be sampled and purchased in the Center’s tasting room. The company looks forward to welcoming the public to learn more about their beers really soon.
Ghostfish Brewing Company got its name from a unique bioluminescent fish found in the Tacoma Sound. On a summer night in 2013, while the Seattle brewery was in the planning phase, Richard Smith (President) and Brian Thiel (Managing Director) saw the unusual fish while sitting on a Tacoma Sound seawall – as a result, the name of Ghostfish was almost instantaneously spawned to compliment the motto of “Unique Grains, Legendary Taste.”
For more information about GBC’s products, visit GhostfishBrewing.com.
The CCIDA is an economic development organization authorized and empowered by the State of New York to make Chautauqua County a better place to work, live, and visit. They facilitate development by attracting new businesses, while promoting the retention and expansion of existing businesses. Assistance in the form of incentives – tax abatements, low interest loans, and bond financing – enhances the opportunities for job creation and retention by our businesses. For more information visit www.CCIDA.com.
About Ghostfish Brewing Company East
Ghostfish Brewing Company East is an extension of Ghostfish Brewing Company based in Seattle Washington. GBC is celebrating eight years in business in 2023 and is reinventing gluten-free beer from the ground up. They love to craft gluten-free beers that pay tribute to classic styles but also expand the public’s expectations of what gluten-free beer can be. For more information visit www.GhosfishBrewing.com.