In photos: Rachel Czub and three views of her farm; and Shelby Schneider of the Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership.
MALTA – The Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership announced on Wednesday that the New York State Regional Economic Development Council has awarded $300,000 in funding to support the construction of Z-HUB in the Town of Moreau.
The Z-HUB project is the brainchild of Rachel Czub, 31, a second-generation farmer who recently returned to the Capital Region after a career in investment banking. Her new venture will connect farmers and the state’s burgeoning craft beverage industry.
“I am grateful to the Regional Economic Development Council for awarding this important funding to help bring this dream to reality,” said Czub, in a Dec. 13 statement provided by Steve Janack of The Janack Group.
The first facility of its kind in New York, Z-HUB will establish a reliable source for high-quality barley and specialty grains by growing, processing, storing, packaging and shipping grains to craft brewers and distillers.
The company will be located on 310 acres of the Czub Farm on Old West Road, close to Adirondack Northway Exit 17—a key consideration for transportation of grain to craft brewers and distillers. The first phase of the $1.5 million project will involve construction of the facility and the purchase and set-up of grain storage, cleaning and processing equipment.
The county Prosperity Partnership provided strategic guidance, technical assistance, business planning, and access to resources to support and advance the project.
Shelby Schneider, the agency's business retention and expansion specialist, made personal visits to Czub's property last summer and spoke in support of the Z-HUB project during official town meetings, according to minutes provided by the Town of Moreau.
“This is great news for farmers and great news for craft brewers, and more importantly, for bringing the two together. I appreciate the invaluable assistance of the Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership and can’t wait to get started,” Czub said.
“We are delighted to have assisted Rachel in securing critical funding for this exciting project, which offers significant economic impact that cuts across industries,” said Prosperity Partnership President Marty Vanags. “It supports the growth of New York’s booming craft beverage industry, provides a vital revenue source to farmers, and answers rising consumer demand for high-quality, homegrown craft beverages.”
The project also provides a solution for craft brewers and distillers statewide who hold a Farmer Brewers or Distillers license and will be required to source raw material from New York producers by 2019.
It is expected that ground will be broken next spring for the project. In addition to the grain hub, Czub has plans to create a vibrant agritourism destination to showcase on-site craft brewing with a taproom, an entertainment and event center, and brew pub.