The news was announced in a 2/18/16 press release from the governor's office: "Governor Cuomo Unveils New Taste NY Alliance With Barclays Center in Brooklyn," subtitled "World Renowned Sports and Entertainment Venue to Promote New York’s Growing Beverage Industry." (A version appeared on the Barclays Center web site too.)
From the press release:
|Photos via Governor's office|
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that Taste NY is partnering with Barclays Center, home to the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Islanders, to expand the promotion of New York’s craft beverage producers. The alliance features the launch of the new and first-ever Taste NY Bar, which is offering a full selection of New York products from across the region and state to Barclays Center’s approximately two million visitors annually.Public assistance: $450,000
...The Taste NY- Barclays Center agreement is part of the Governor’s promise made at the third Wine, Beer, Spirits & Cider Summit [link] to continue to support and provide resources for this growing industry.
The Taste NY Bar is located in a prime location in the venue—on the main concourse, next to the main entrance. To promote the Taste NY Bar, Taste NY branded messaging will be displayed on the more than 700 HDTVs and LED displays in concession areas and throughout the venue, including in the arena bowl and on the Oculus—the 3,000 square foot LED marquee outside of Barclays Center’s main entrance. The Taste NY Bar will also be featured on BCTV—a custom in-arena and online video network featuring original content about the arena’s events and the Brooklyn community. BCTV programming appears on the venue’s HDTVs prior to and following events, as well as online at BarclaysCenter.com.
Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Jola Szubielski, responding to my questions, said this was the first concession partnership with a major league sports and entertainment venue in the state, growing out of a for beverage producers held last year.
"This first-of-its-kind Taste NY Bar offers the industry an unprecedented platform to market its products in the biggest consumer market in the state, and to a global consumer base," she said.
It was unclear what exactly the state was doing, so I asked. Turns out New York is spending $450,000 on advertising/branding, signage, and marketing to support the beer, wine, spirits and cider producers. Szubielski added:
It’s important to note that the Taste NY Bar is operated by Levy Restaurants, the concession operator for the Barclays Center, and the partnership works similar to other branding activations across the Barclays Center. There is no cost to producers to participate. Beverage producers are surveyed for their interest in participating in the partnership, and then the Barclays Center and their food and beverage vendor make the selections of producers. More than a dozen companies from the NYC region are featured in this initial rotation of selections offered at the Taste NY Bar. Our goal is to rotate in wine, beer, cider and spirits producers from all 10 regions of the state over the course of the next year.Fan reaction
So it makes the arena a more attractive venue to visitors, in a way. In April, an Islanders fan wrote on Lighthouse Hockey:
As a nice added bonus, the craft beer options have expanded in the lower bowl (shoutout to LHH user newdamage for pointing that out to me). In the lower bowl main entrance, turn right after you get through the airport scanners and check the first bar on your left for the TasteNY bar, which I found by accident. I rubbed my eyes to make sure it was not a mirage: they had Oyster Bay, Flagship, Rockaway Brewing, Bronx, Ommegang...yes, one pour will still run you the cost of a six-pack, but now I know exactly where I'll get my game beer from now on!Effort since 2012
On 10/20/15, NY1 reported, in Grape State of New York: State Aims to Help Wine Industry Grow, on the Governor's push to advertise and market state beverages, holding three summits since 2012 to bring "wine makers, craft beer brewers and distillers" together.
"We've done a lot of work to cut red tape," Sam Filler of Empire State Development told NY1 at the time. "Do some regulatory reform. Clarify licenses. Extend privileges, mostly for people that agree to use New York State ingredients in their products." The state also agreed to spend on advertising and marketing campaigns.
Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park watchers will note that Filler, until recently, did double duty managing not only the craft beer initiative but overseeing Atlantic Yards.