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Local News

July 20, 2013

Brewery deal hits another snag

SCHOHARIE — An Otsego County company’s plan to open a brewery at the closed Guilford Mills* plant in Cobleskill was dealt a new blow Friday when Schoharie County lawmakers decided it would be too risky to have their county hold a second mortgage that would allow the investors to make $1.3 million in needed repairs to the sprawling building.

The vote followed a heated exchange between Cobleskill Mayor Mark Galasso, a proponent of having the county back the financing, and County Treasurer William Cherry, who questioned why the brewery company has been reluctant to make a more significant investment in the real estate.

“Do they have any real skin in the game?” asked Cherry. “If so, I haven’t heard about it.”

The company that has maneuvered to buy the building is Long House LLC, which is affiliated with Butternuts Beer and Brewing of Gilbertsville, which also owns Cooperstown Beer Co. Its representative at the meeting, John Lorence, did not respond to the pointed comments made by Cherry and several town supervisors who voiced similar sentiments.

If Long House does not come up with a financing package by Oct. 15 that would enable it to go through with the purchase, Guilford Mills will go back on the real estate market, Cherry said.

Eight of the 14 supervisors in attendance voted to reject the plan to have the county hold the second mortgage. The six who favored the plan were Robert Mann Jr. of Blenheim, Anne Batz of Broome, Thomas Murray Jr. of Cobleskill, Daniel Singletary of Jefferson, Earl Van Wormer III of Esperance and Harold Vroman of Summit.

Of the weighted votes, 1,589 opposed the second mortgage plan, and 1,054 supported it. Carlisle Supervisor Larry Bradt was absent from the meeting.

Lorence, upon leaving the county office building, was asked if the board’s decision would doom his company’s interest in the property. “This will certainly make things more challenging,” he said. He also said the board’s decision jeopardizes his company’s efforts to create jobs in Schoharie County.

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