Wine and grape juice is a $4.8 billion industry in New York, while breweries contribute $3.5 billion to the state economy

A new partnership between Ontario County’s official tourism promotion agency and the Rochester Craft Beverage Trail has resulted in an expanded trail called the Rochester/Finger Lakes Craft Beverage Trail, or the ROC/FLX Craft Beverage Trail. The marketing partnership connects breweries, brew pubs, distilleries, wineries and hard cideries from Rochester through Ontario County and parts of Wayne County. Cooperative marketing endeavors will include better signage, joint marketing materials, and events.

Legislation for the Rochester/Finger Lakes Craft Beverage Trail (A9063-A/S6370-B) was introduced to the New York State Assembly and Senate in 2016 by Senator Rich Funke (R,C,I-Fairport) and Assembly Majority Leader Joseph D. Morelle (D-Irondequoit). Passed in the Senate in 2017, the bill (S6370-B) allows for signage along major state and local highways (Interstates 590, 490, 390, 90 and other highways) where these beverage businesses are located. The trail extends from the greater Rochester metropolitan region in Monroe County and then across Ontario County and into the eastern parts of Wayne County. The towns and cities included in this trail are Rochester, Henrietta, Webster, Honeoye Falls, Fairport and East Rochester in Monroe County; Williamson, Wayne County; and Victor, Bloomfield, South Bristol, Canandaigua and Geneva in Ontario County.

“The Rochester/Finger Lakes Craft Beverage Trail supports and promotes our craft beverage industry, bringing attention to the hundreds of great locations in our community,” said Senator Funke. “New York’s craft beverage industry is a major contributor to our economy, and I’m proud to say our region is making some of the best beers, wines, and spirits anywhere.”

“Our community boasts a long and proud brewing heritage which has been bolstered by the recent growth of local craft breweries, brew pubs and only making significant contributions to our local tourism and agriculture economies, but also exposing locals and tourists alike to some of the best beer in the world,” said Assembly Majority Leader Morelle.

The Canandaigua Lake Wine Trail is also part of the ROC/FLX Craft Beverage Trail. Tying the identity of the trail to Rochester and the Finger Lakes Region leverages our marketing ability on both sides and expands the presence of all these entities, said President of Finger Lakes Visitors Connection Valerie Knoblauch.

Jason Barrett, founder of the Rochester Craft Beverage Trail, said the new partnership promises to be a win-win for everyone involved. “There’s more strength in marketing together,” he said. “This will allow a strong partnership between the Craft Beverage Trail and the Canandaigua Wine Trail.”

“This trail will build awareness of this burgeoning sector of culinary tourism, and lets visitors know that they can take the trail and have a unique experience,” Knoblauch said. “Wine and grape juice is a $4.8 billion industry in New York, while breweries contribute $3.5 billion to the state economy. Both industries bolster tourism throughout the state, but especially in the Finger Lakes Region.”

Cross-promotion between the Rochester and Finger Lakes region via this trail could inspire visitors not only to enjoy the tastings, but also to make stops at the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, the New York Wine & Culinary Center in Canandaigua, and other attractions along the way. There are also opportunities to inspire visitors to extend their trail tour with overnights at hotels in the region.