A bevy of issues separate Andrew Cuomo and gubernatorial challenger Cynthia Nixon (first and foremost: Nixon wants to legalize weed). But, as always with American politics, the race is going to come down to one question: Who would you rather have a beer with?

Everyone knows Miranda was more of a cosmo drinker. Meanwhile, Governor Cuomo is doing his best to make his name synonymous with brewskies. Sharing a tipple with a pre-scandal Mario Batali at the inaugural Taste NY Craft Beer Challenge last May, he touted the fact that New York’s Farm Brewery license, created in 2013, had led to the establishment of some 150 farm breweries and 28 farm cider businesses in the state. Now, he’s announcing the launch of Brew York, billed as the first widely-available commercially produced beer made with mostly New York-grown ingredients.

The pale ale, produced by Ithaca Beer Co., uses 70 percent New York-grown barley and 100 percent local hops, and will be available in bottles and on tap starting May 15.

Cuomo and Batali at the Taste NY Craft Beer Challenge in May 2017.
(Philip Kamrass/ Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

According to the governor’s office, the New York hops industry is, well, hopping. A Cornell University study found that between 2014 and 2016, the acreage of New York-grown hops nearly doubled and the acreage of malting barley increased by 374 percent. As of February, there were 13 malt houses and 400 breweries in the state.

Dan Mitchell, president of Ithaca Beer Company President, described Brew York as a continuation of the New York State Double IPA that the upstate brewery released in 2004. When that beer came out, the company touted it as being made from 100 percent hops and pointed out that “in the early 1900s, 95 percent of all hops used in the US were grown in New York. However, soon the combination of crop disease & prohibition put an end to local hop growing.”