Between 1800 and 1930, Syracuse was a major brewing city and home to many breweries. By 1850, Syracuse had seen the success of brewers, thanks to the city’s rail and canal transportation systems and a growing population, including an increasing number of German immigrants who brought their great beer drinking customs with them.
The 1890s might be considered the peak years for Syracuse’s brewery business. According to the Onondaga Historical Association, at that time, more than 400 people were employed in the local industry, producing around 300,000 barrels of beer and ale annually. In fact, in June 1894, the U.S. Brewers Association held its national convention in Syracuse.
Prohibition was catastrophic to the beer industry, shutting down breweries in Syracuse and across the country. A resurgence of locally owned breweries began in 1994, when the trend toward specialty microbreweries and brew pubs arrived in Syracuse with the opening of Syracuse Suds Factory, followed by Empire Brewing Co. and Middle Ages Brewing Co.
Did we mention Syracuse comes in 6th on the list of the top 10 drinking towns according to the Huffington Post and Market Watch? You can also read the Beer & Brewing Magazine's Beercation feature on the Central New York brew region.