Saratoga Brewing, one of New York's oldest and biggest beer makers, has closed
Olde Saratoga Brewing Co. is owned by California's Mendocino Brewing Co., which is itself controlled by Vijay Mallya of India. The brewery appears to have closed. (Jared Paventi)
By Don Cazentre

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY -- Saratoga Brewing Co., one of the oldest and largest brewers in New York state, abruptly closed last weekend. Its future is uncertain.

The brewery, which opened at 131 Excelsior Ave. in Saratoga Springs in 1997, appears to be caught up in the financial and legal problems facing Vijay Mallya, the chairman of the UB (United Breweries) Group of India. Mallya is the majority shareholder of Mendocino Brewing Co. of California, which closed its 30-year-old tasting room last weekend. Mendocino is the parent company of Saratoga Brewing.

Saratoga Brewing, also known as Olde Saratoga Brewing, makes its own line of beers under the Saratoga label, but the majority of its brewing capacity has always been for other breweries, whose products it makes under contract. It makes Mendocino beers for the East Coast market, and is the U.S. manufacturer for Kingfisher Lager, the flagship beer for the Indian drinks company, the UB Group.

It has also been the contract brewer for many start-up breweries in Upstate New York, notably Shmaltz (He'Brew) Brewing, which had its been made there until opening its own brew house in Clifton Park in 2013.

Among its current contract clients is Braven Brewing of Brooklyn, which heard about the closing and had to retrieve beer and equipment from the Saratoga brewery before the shut down. Braven recounted that on its Instagram page: