Something big is brewing in Babylon.
The Town of Babylon Industrial Development Agency has unveiled a plan to convert a blighted building into the state’s first business incubator dedicated to craft bar.
The IDA would spend $12 million to buy, revitalize and equip a former missile component facility at 1305 S. Strong Ave. in Copiague.
“We look forward to the possibilities it could hold for start-up brewers and the future of the craft beer industry on Long Island,” Babylon IDA CEO Matthew McDonough said in a written statement.
The IDA plans to acquire the property, which has a $1 million back tax bill and $750,000 Department of Environmental Conservation cleanup bill.
It would then replace the existing 25,000 square-foot industrial building with a structure that size that is equipped with spaces for up to 10 brewers.
Brewers also would have access to a tasting room for customer visits and a shared production space with equipment for small to midsized operations.
The IDA said the new facility would brief life into an existing structure that has been blighted for more than 30 years and plagued by vandalism.
Babylon Town Supervisor Rich Schaffer said he supports plans to “both remove this long-standing blight and to build an immaculate facility.”
He said the proposal has “been met with positive feedback from residents, community leaders, and local craft beer brewers.”
The IDA is seeking funds from agencies such as Empire State Development, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, and the United States Economic Development Administration.
The craft beer industry in New York State grew 59 percent from 2013 to 2014 with a $3.5 billion estimated total impact, according to a study prepared for the New York State Brewers Association and the New York Wine and Grape Foundation,
The report, prepared by Stonebridge Research Group, described growth in the craft beer industry since the 2012 passage of New York Farm Brewery legislation.
The number of craft breweries has more than doubled from 95 in 2012 to 207 in 2015. Craft beer production rose 54 percent from 2011 to 2013 to reach 859,535 barrels. Craft beer accounts for 6,552 direct industry jobs and supports another 4,814 jobs in related industries, according to the report.
New York has been seeking to foster growth in craft brewing. The state’s 2015-16 budget expanded tax exemptions for tastings conducted by New York breweries as of June 1, 2015.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo in November 2014 signed the Craft New York Act, reducing costs and increasing the annual production cap for farm breweries and micro-breweries from 60,000 barrels to 75,000.
The state at that time also launched a $2 million craft beverage marketing and promotion grant program and a $1 million craft beverage industry tourism promotion grant.