Learn more about EAP during an Aug. 8 info session

Michelle and Joseph Alig

Congratulations to Waterman’s Distillery LLC, which has been selected as the Entrepreneurship Assistance Centers’ 2019 Entrepreneur of the Year!

The award is given out by Empire State Development, which operates 24 Entrepreneurship Assistance Centers statewide. Joseph and Michelle Alig, owners of the Apalachin business, will receive a cash prize of $1,000 during the Albany awards ceremony on June 12.

Joseph Alig is a graduate of SUNY Broome’s Entrepreneurship Assistance Program, a 12-week, 60-hour course that gives participants the skills and knowledge they need to successfully launch a business.

Alig, a former second grade teacher, credits the Binghamton Local Development Corp and the EAP program with providing the knowledge and technical training that helped him turn a onetime hobby into a viable business.

Have an idea for a business? This year’s EAP program runs from 6 to 9 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays from Sept. 9 through Dec. 2 at the Koffman Southern Tier Incubator, located on Hawley Street in Binghamton. Join SUNY Broome for an information night from 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 8 in the incubator’s third-floor classroom. Call (607) 777-4022 or email kanukda@sunybroome.edu for more details.

Joseph Alig, whose siblings live near distilleries in Tennessee, learned his craft during college. He enrolled in EAP in 2015 and submitted a business plan at the end of the training course. The Incubator’s Entrepreneurship Assistance Center then gave him needed guidance in fleshing out details, from aesthetics to marketing and retail, while connecting him with community professionals and networks. He met with lawyers and accountants, and acquired the necessary funding and zoning approvals to renovate an 18th century Apalachin barn on Route 434 into Waterman’s Distillery.

The distillery, which held its grand opening in April 2018, produces all-natural spirits from Finger Lakes corn. Their nine uniquely flavored whiskeys include jalapeno ginger, blood orange, lemon, mocha and salted caramel maple, all sourced from 90 percent New York State ingredients.

The distillery currently features a tasting and viewing room, a packed events schedule and products that are featured in a growing number of restaurants and retailers. The business, which has doubled its first-year revenues, has already gotten recognition from national outlets including Forbes, which cited Waterman’s in 2018 among “Craft Distilleries You Don’t Want to Miss Visiting This Summer.”

Whiskey produced by Waterman's Distillery