Thursday, May 25, 2017

A Reason Not to Toast Genesee's New Beer Tanks

A stoked as I am to see these tanks in a couple of days, I have had the same question that local patriot Con Cazentre raises — Could an Upstate NY firm have built the China-made beer tanks floating past its factory? The article in its entirety:
    LITTLE FALLS, NY -- Today a set of huge beer fermentation tanks destined for the Genesee Brewery in Rochester will float down the Erie Canal past a factory in Little Falls.

    They will pass just 100 feet or so in front of a plant owned by Feldmeier Equipment, a Syracuse-based company that makes stainless tanks similar to those heading to the brewery in Rochester.

    But the 12 big beer tanks on the canal weren't made by Feldmeier, or even by an American company. They were made by a company called the Lehui Group in China and shipped 6,000 miles, ending with a 225-mile journey along the canal (they're too big to move by truck).

    The tanks are a key part of a $49 million modernization project currently underway at the Genesee Brewery on St. Paul Street in Rochester. Of the total project cost, $40 million is being paid by Genesee's parent company, North American Breweries, and, in its later stages, about $9.5 million will come in aid from New York state.

    And that's the part that doesn't sit well with the folks at Feldmeier.

    Feldmeier bid on parts of the project, though Genesee executives said the Syracuse company "chose not to bid" specifically on the big tanks moving down the canal.

    "We submitted a proposal and we were not successful, unfortunately," said Dave Pollock, vice president of sales at Feldmeier's office in Syracuse. "That happens in manufacturing, and we know that."

    "Our issue," Pollock said, "is they're getting $9.5 million from the state for this project. And they're asking people to come down and toast the tanks on the canal that are coming from China. And we have employees to feed here."

    Feldmeier has roughly 200 employees in Syracuse, and about 100 at two plants in Little Falls. It has other plants in Alabama, Iowa and Nevada, with about 425 total employees, he said.

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