On March 30th, the Carey Institute hosted over 20 craft beverage producers for a live launch of Source NY—an online marketing and supply chain mapping platform for New York State’s craft beverage sector. The resulting map shows just how connected industry stakeholders are to each other. As more users sign on, connect with local suppliers and map their flow of materials, farmers will have a data-driven tool to connect with local buyers, building capacity for small-scale beverage manufacturers to work toward more local supply chains.
From its inception, the goal of Source NY was to create a marketplace for farmers and craft beverage producers and to support local supply chain development. But, we are discovering that the use of supply chain mapping in this way is unique; Source NY puts New York State’s craft beverage sector on the leading edge of industry sustainability.
Sustainability in the craft beverage sector is not new. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Oskar Blues Brewery, New Belgium Brewing Co., and a number of other craft breweries across the country are recognized leaders in sustainable brewery operations. The National Brewers Association also recently launched a Sustainability Benchmarking Dashboard to help its members assess their operation against breweries of similar size and set targets for reducing their impact. However, a key piece of the puzzle is missing from these efforts: raw materials.
Craft beverage producers rely on a long chain of suppliers and processors that extends across the US and Canada for raw material. Unlike a piece of equipment, this makes it difficult to swap out one supply chain for another. Further, as we are experiencing in New York State, local supply chain development requires years of research, new infrastructure, technical expertise, farmers willing to take risks and creative beverage producers. Our goal is to use Source NY to document and support this process and to understanding how “local” fits in to industry sustainability.