David Katleski, owner of Syracuse’s Empire Brewing Co. and the president of the New York State Brewers Association, received the Brewers Association’s F.X. Matt Defender of the Industry award the annual Craft Brewers Conference in Washington, D.C.
The award, presented March 27 by Dick Cantwell, president of Elysian Brewing in Seattle, Wash., is named for the late F.X. Matt of Utica’s F.X. Matt Brewing Co., producer of Saranac beer.
Named in honor of F.X. Matt, the late president and chairman of the Utica-based maker of Saranc beers, F.X. Matt Brewing Co. – a champion of small brewers until his death in 2001 – the award is given annually by the Brewers Association, a Boulder, Colo.-based industry group, to someone in the beer industry who has championed small brewers.
Katleski founded Empire as a brewpub in Syracuse in 1994 and in 2010 also began producing beer in Brooklyn.
He also founded and is president of the New York State Brewers Association, a trade group representing about 100 craft brewers in the state. Last year, Katleski figure prominently in winning several brewer-friendly New York state laws, including a measure that gives tax breaks to brewers using ingredients grown in the state, another that protects small brewers in their contracts with distributors and a roll-back of some tax increases brought about by a court decision.
Katleski also represented the New York brewing industry at Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Wine, Beer and Spirits Summit in October, where he voiced brewers’ concerns directly to the governor
“This star of brewing shows what it takes to survive and flourish in a crowded field,” Cantwell told the audience of about 6,000 brewers and allied industry people at the presentation. He cited the excellent quality of Empire’s beers, its use of locally produced ingredients in the brewpub’s food and its use of renewable energy.