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Malt houses, once a booming business in the area, may make a comeback as state law requires breweries to use 60% of their ingredients locally

As breweries and wineries take off in the Finger Lakes Region, many should know that the history and art of alcohol creation has been rooted in local history for years.

In 1861 a man named Samuel Nester moved from his home in East Brunswick Penn. to New York City and learned to work in a malt house.

He then moved to Phelps and worked for a man named Mr. Betz in his malt house.


Betz owned malt houses in Phelps, Waterloo, Oswego, and Port Gibson.

In 1867 Nester started his own malt house in Phelps and soon after purchased property on the Geneva lakefront. Another malt house had burned down, so he went into business with Betz and created one of the biggest and most successful malt houses in the country.

1908 saw the closure of the once successful malt house following Nester’s death, and with the explosion of breweries in the area, attempts are underway to get malt houses started again.

Breweries in NY are required to get 60% of their ingredients from the state of New York, and in 2024 will be required to use 90%.



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