June 10, 2014

Beverage firm plans big expansion

ELIZABETHTOWN — Essex County lawmakers gave tentative approval Monday to a tax break for a $2 million expansion that will add nine jobs at High Peaks Distributing in St. Armand.

Construction of a 13,000-square-foot warehouse at the beverage distributor will also triple the assessment from $404,000 to a projected $1.4 million.

Essex County Industrial Development Agency Co-Director Jody Olcott told the County Board of Supervisors Economic Development Committee that the St. Armand Town Council and the Saranac Lake Central School Board have given their OK for the payment in lieu of taxes, commonly called a PILOT, for High Peaks Distributing.

The Economic Development Committee voted unanimously to approve the PILOT. Approval by the Board of Supervisors has a second vote at Ways and Means on June 30 and a final vote July 7 at the board’s regular session.


The business currently has a 19,000-square-foot facility at 1016 State Route 3, and the construction project will increase that to 32,000 square feet.

“It’s a great project,” Olcott told the Press-Republican after the meeting. “We’re happy to support them. They’re a family-run business.”

High Peaks Distributing is operated by Thomas McCraith, who serves as president, and his sister, Susan McCraith, vice president, and other family members.

They also have an operation in the Utica area, McCraith Beverages, which opened in 1971. High Peaks Distributing began in 2011.

Without sufficient storage space at the St. Armand facility, they’ve been forced to truck large quantities of beverages up from Utica to keep it stocked, Olcott said, and the expansion will save on transportation costs.

Construction is expected to begin in mid July and will include a new septic system and inside loading docks.


High Peaks Distributing has 19 employees, with an annual payroll of $930,000. The nine new jobs will have an additional payroll of $230,000 a year.

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