Ticonderoga Ken Tucker believes beer could be an economic force in the Adirondacks.
The Ticonderoga man has embarked on a project to attract small breweries throughout the region. He believes the effort will result in $3 billion in revenue a year and 5,000 jobs in 15 years.
“It’s the right time, it’s the right place,” Tucker said of his plan. “It’s just a matter of making it happen and I’m the guy for it.”
The key is Tucker’s vision is “blue gold” — the 10 trillion gallons of fresh water that flows from the Adirondacks each year. Water is the key ingredient in beer, he noted, making this area a prime location for breweries.
Tucker lived 12 years in Oregon, where small breweries thrive. Craft brewing is responsible for $3 billion in revenue each year and 5,000 jobs in Oregon, he said. Tucker believes the industry can do the same thing in the Adirondack Park.
To make his project a reality, Tucker has applied to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service to create a “EB-5 regional center” in the Adirondacks. Those centers are eligible to accept foreign investment in exchange for immigration consideration. The program allows foreign investors to get green cards if they meet an investment threshold.
“There’s a lot of money outside the U.S. looking for investment opportunities,” Tucker said. “Why not bring that money to the Adirondacks?”
Tucker hopes to have approval of the “regional center” application in February.
The closest “regional center” to the area is Jay Peak, Vt., he said, where 400 foreign investors have pumped $200 million into the local ski industry.
Tucker is confident foreign investors will want to take advantage of the Adirondack water to operate nano-breweries, brew-pubs, restaurant-breweries, micro-breweries and regional breweries.
Vermont has the largest number of breweries, per capita, in the United States, Tucker noted.