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 F. X. Matt Brewery

F. X. Matt Brewery
Court & Varick Street
Utica, NY 13501
Phone: (315) 732-0022

On May 29, 2008, the opening night of the season's first Saranac Thursday event, the F.X. Matt Brewing Company's bottling and canning facility caught fire. The billowing smoke could be seen for miles and firsthand by many Thursday night enthusiasts that were just getting to the Brewery for the festivities.
"Our first concern was to make sure that every employee and person was accounted for and was safe. Our second concern was to get over the shock and figure out what we were going to have to do to get back in business," shares Nicholas Matt, Chairman and CEO of the F.X. Matt Brewing Company. "I have seen and been through a lot in business over the years, but never a fire. The things that go through your mind at a time like that are insurmountable. In the sea of conversations and suggestions from so many people, EDGE proved to be a trusted voice that helped us immediately in an area that we might not have thought of right away. They were a very important piece of the puzzle."
Edge representatives helped the Brewery learn of and take advantage of property tax breaks and sales tax exemptions through the help of the Oneida County Industrial Development Agency (a strategic partner of EDGE). A temporary cap allowed the Brewery to complete their new construction and significant equipment purchases. The ten-year agreement put a cap on property taxes in the first exemption year. In years two-five, the company will pay taxes at the same level they were paying before the fire. In years six-ten, the company will pay either the pre-fire tax amount of two-thirds of the current tax rate, whichever is higher. The agreement also helped offset sales tax on construction materials needed too renovate and build.
OCIDA looked at the Brewery project thoroughly from multiple viewpoints. They wanted to review how the taxpayers (county, city and school) would be affected and they needed to see what the financial potential of the company would be to offset the taxes.
Sensitive to the fact that an appropriate, fair agreement should be reached, the Brewery wanted to be sure that they got back into the building and back into production with assistance that made sense. The temporary breaks will help the Brewery get back on their feet, but as they move along, the tax breaks will end.
"The process with EDGE was as simple as it could be and fair." Nick shares, "what we asked is for a solution that would be good for the community and that is what we received."
The May 29, 2008 fire affected the Brewery's bottling and canning operations in one of their three story buildings. The 15,000 square foot second floor has been rebuilt and is now filled with equipment that cans and packages 6 pack hi-cone packages, 12 packs and 24 pack cases of Saranac and other products. The third floor, which was used for warehousing product, was lost and replaced with a new 25,000 square foot warehouse on premise.
The Matt family, even in the midst of their own crisis, made a point to utilize local companies in almost every facet of the restoration and new build out. The project employed local electricians, architects, plumbers, roofers, engineers and others. EDGE president Steve DiMeo adds, "the tax break agreement that was reached was very applicable in this instance. It not only helped a local company get back on its feet, but it also helped create jobs for a multitude of local small businesses." A local icon is now back up and running, is poised to be more competitive and will continue to generously give back to their community.
EDGE offers a great variety of assistance and guidance to companies, no matter if they are just moving to the area or if they have been here for generations, like the F.X. Matt Brewery. Many times EDGE is brought in to help the company remake themselves. In the Brewery's situation, an unfortunate crisis turned into a development and expansion opportunity which will allow them to continue to grow right here in the Mohawk Valley.
Now that operations are fully functioning once more, the new space and equipment will allow the Brewery to be more flexible and competitive and its capabilities can evolve. In the near future, packaging for slim cans (think cans like Red Bull) will be possible.
A goal of the Brewery is to get to consistent 2-3 shift operations, thus producing more jobs for the local economy. It will also allow them to produce more for other breweries and beverage manufacturers and to build the widely-loved Saranac brand.