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Genesee honors union workers with new IPA

Dan Maloney, president of the Rochester Labor Council, cheered Genesee's release of Union-made Hazy IPA.
Gino Fanelli
Dan Maloney, president of the Rochester Labor Council, cheered Genesee's release of Union-made Hazy IPA.

The Genesee Brewery has launched a new beer honoring its union workers, a release that comes as the brewery continues its efforts to fill skilled trade positions.

The Union-made Hazy IPA was unveiled during an event Tuesday, which included appearances by local labor leaders and politicians. It was designed by brewmaster Matt James with input from the brewery staff and is meant to pay homage to the brewery’s union history.

Genesee became a union shop in 1943 and its workers are currently represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 118, the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 13, and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 86, among others.

“These trade careers provide a good wage and benefits that you can raise your family on and retire with dignity,” said Grant Malone, president of the Rochester Building and Construction Trades Council. “This is so important in the environment today; I can’t emphasize that enough.”

The beer is a New England-style IPA. While it’s light on bitterness, the use of Mosaic and New Zealand Wai-iti dry hops adds a distinct tropical fruit note on the finish. It’s easy drinking with a crispness that comes from the wheat used in it.

Tiffany Benning, brand manager for Genesee, said the beer’s launch serves two purposes: to celebrate the brewery’s workforce and to advertise the many union jobs the brewery offers.

“This provides us a platform to talk about the great jobs available in both the skilled trades and in manufacturing,” Benning said. “Over the years, we’ve had the challenge of hiring people in several areas in our brewery.”

Opened in 1878, the Genesee Brewery is the oldest continuously operating brewery in New York. It currently employs about 550 people, 300 of whom are unionized tradespeople.

“The union contract ensures the highest standard of safety for both the people working here and the products,” said Dan Maloney, President of the Rochester Labor Council. “This is a great day, a celebration of workers, and the brewery, and our community. Thanks for letting me be a part of it, solidarity and sláinte.”

The Union-Made Hazy IPA was brewed in a relatively small batch of 400 barrels and will be available across the region beginning Nov. 1.

Gino Fanelli covers City Hall. He joined the staff as a reporter in 2019 by way of the Rochester Business Journal, and formerly served as a watchdog reporter for Gannett in Maryland and a stringer for the Associated Press.