ITHACA, N.Y.—One of Ithaca’s favorite native breweries has officially expanded its footprint, as a ribbon-cutting this week welcomed Ithaca Beer Company’s new location in the Collegetown neighborhood.

The ceremony was hosted by the Tompkins Chamber and included city and county staff and elected officials, plus Ithaca Beer Taproom Manager Mike Wilber and representatives from Ithaca Area Economic Development. The restaurant’s new location is at 409 College Avenue, the former location of Collegetown Bagels, though they retain their original location on Ithaca Beer Drive as well.

Wilber, speaking on his own behalf and owner Dan Mitchell’s, thanked his employees for their hard work and for the gathered officials in attendance for their help, not only with the current move but also Ithaca Beer’s origins in the area and its early growth, both locally and with regional distribution expansion.

“Ithaca Beer is the spirit of the Finger Lakes, but you’re also a tremendous brand ambassador for Ithaca,” said IAED Executive Director Heather McDaniel. “Some day soon, when I travel and tell people that I’m from Ithaca, the number one response that I’m going to receive is not ‘Oh yeah, Ithaca is Gorges,’ or ‘I know someone who went to Cornell,’ it’s going to be ‘I love Ithaca Beer.'”

Tompkins County Legislator Rich John said that he hoped the new location would be an “anchor” in Collegetown, showing what the neighborhood can be. City of Ithaca Deputy Director of Economic Development Tom Knipe talked about the city’s interest in investing in College Avenue and making Collegetown in general a year-round destination, not just when Cornell University is in session.

“I’ve said before that Collegetown is unlike any other ward in this city,” said Common Council Alderperson Jorge DeFendini, echoed by fellow representative Patrick Mehler. “Its uniqueness makes it the best ward in the city. It’s the small businesses like Ithaca Beer Company that make our corner of Ithaca stand out, so I’m looking forward to bringing a bunch of my friends here to share in many good memories.”

Matt Butler

Matt Butler is the Education & Public Health Reporter at the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached by email at mbutler@ithacavoice.com