June 13, 1933: the CH Bremer Fish and Fruit Market (established 1876), on Seneca Street in Utica, began selling wine and liquor. They obtained the first liquor license granted in Oneida County after the repeal of Prohibition. This June, the family-run business celebrates its 90th year of operation since that original license.
Family History: Charles (CH) Bremer was a well-known Utica businessman who passed the store to his son Merritt. It was Merritt who obtained the original New York State liquor license. In 1959, Merritt died unexpectedly and his son, Merritt Jr. (Bud), took a leave from his job as a chemist at United Merchants and Manufacturers to help. He thought it would be a brief few weeks of managing the store, but he ultimately remained at the helm for several decades. In 1966, the Bremer business merged with Art Bullock’s store, Casey and Keefe, becoming Bremer and Bullock. After Art Bullock’s retirement in 1999, Bud’s son Merritt III (Tim) joined his father in the store. In 2006, Eric, the youngest of the Bremers, came on board so his father could ease into retirement. With Tim’s retirement in 2022, Eric became the sole proprietor of Bremer’s Wine and Liquor.
Throughout the years, the business has had five locations, from downtown Utica, to its current location on Commercial Drive in New Hartford. Over the years, the business has given back to the Mohawk Valley by supporting not-for-profit organizations including The Arthritis Foundation, Thea Bowman House, The House of the Good Shepherd, The Boys and Girls Club, and the American Heart Association.
On Friday, June 9, 2023, Bremer’s will hold an anniversary and customer appreciation celebration at the Yahnundasis Golf and Country Club in New Hartford, from 6-9pm, which is open to the public. Reservations are required. The event will feature complimentary wine and spirits tastings, seminars, hors d’ oeuvres, and a cash bar.
A rare, full set of Van Winkle whiskeys (10-, 12-, 15-, 20-, and 23-year old bourbons and a 13-year old rye) will be raffled at $20 per ticket, with the proceeds to benefit The House of the Good Shepherd and Thea Bowman House. Tickets are available at Bremer’s on Commercial Drive, or at the event on June 9. Raffle tickets can be purchased with cash or check.
Seminars require a cash or check donation of $20, which will be donated to either The House of the Good Shepherd or Thea Bowman House. The seminars will be a full tasting experience, and the topics are:
• The Difference between Old World- and New World-Style Wines (6:15-6:45)
• Whiskies of the World: Scotland, Ireland, Japan, and the United States (6:15-6:45)
• The Rosé Garden (a variety of rosé styles) (7-7:30)
• Wines of Italy (7-7:30)
Seminars are limited to 30 attendees and require a first come, first served reservation. Reservations for seminars and the event can be made by calling (315) 768-6400 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.