More than 30 attendees took part in the annual Agriculture Tour on September 29th. This years tour highlighted the diverse beverage industry in the county and included stops at Pumpkinville, Ellicottville Distillery, Steelbound Brewery & Distillery and ended at Ellicottville Brewing Company's bottling facility. Attendees included representatives from Assemblyman Giglio's office and Senator Borrello's office, members of the County Legislature, County Planning Board, County Agriculture & Farmland Protection Board, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Farm Service Agency and the Soil & Water Conservation District.
The tour started at Pumpkinville where the group gathered under the open air Beer Garden which opened in 2021. The Beer Garden is open on weekends and offers local craft beers from EBC including a Pumpkinville Harvest Ale and hard cider, wine and wine slushies from Ellicottville Winery. Dan Pawlowski welcomed the group and talked about the growth that Pumpkinville has experienced over the last 27 years since taking over the business and relcoating it to their property on Sugartown Rd. in Great Valley. He also mentioned hardships and long hours spent operating the seasonal business, including the struggle to find committed staff.
The next stop was at the Ellicottville Distillery on Robbins Rd. about 4 miles east of the village of Ellicottville off Route 242. Bryan Scharf, owner and head distiller, gave a tour of the facility as well as an overview of the distilling process and their plans for future growth. The Disillery opened in 2016 and offered three products at that time, since then they have grown to additional products including favorites like Appleshine, Bluberry Vodka and a Maple Bourbon Creme. Scharf said that they use local products as often as possible including the grains use for the distilling, apples for the moonshine and maple syrup.
After the tour at Ellicottville Distillery the group made their way back towards town and made a stop at Steelbound Brewery and Distillery which brews their own beers, distills their own spirits and offers up a delicious menu at their onsite restaurant and bar. Bill Bursee the original owner of the business offered up a tour of the processing part of the business where he gave the background of how he got started in the brewing and distilling industry and decided to pursue this as his new career in 2017. Since opening the original location in Ellicottville they have added another in Springville and have already franchised a location in Dunkirk, NY with three additional locations on the way. The other locations will be in Toronto and Brampton, Ontario, Canada as well as one in the Las Vegas area with plans to expand further.
The final stop on the tour was at the Ellicottville Brewing Company's Little Valley location. This facility was purchased by EBC in 2018 and renovated to relocate the brewing and bottling/canning process. The new facility uses the latest technology to monitor the brewing process and maintain consistency in the beers. Part of the building was also used to develop a Pub which will be opening to the public later this year. The facility has already been used for a few weddings and special events and will certainly be a new favorite for locals and visitors to the Little Valley area once opened.