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Huge beer tanks float down Erie Canal

Beer tanks being transported via the Erie Canal

Three massive tanks in the shape of 60-foot-tall beer cans lie on their side on a barge, as a red tugboat pushes them down the last leg of their journey along the Erie Canal.

The Genesee Beer Co. is shipping a total of a dozen of these tanks to Rochester as part of a massive modernization project, and public relations campaign. The fermentation tanks will be used to brew millions of bottles of beer at a time and were too large to ship by truck or train.

In the 200 years since ground was broken on the Erie Canal, it has evolved from means of transportation and mode of industrial shipping to a place for recreation.

But this journey is doing more than bringing attention to Genesee -- it’s highlighting the shipping that continues on the canal.

One of the last stops of the journey is Lock 32 in Pittsford, NY. Here, the canal is usually used by kayakers and fisherman, or cyclists and diners looking for an eyeful of waterfront.

But on the day of the firsts set of tanks arrival, dozens of people turn out to gawk at the fleet of beer tanks as they floated by. Some onlookers even sport beer tanks of their own, in a size appropriate for personal use.

The big tanks have traveled more than 200 miles across the state, and they won’t be the only products bobbing down the canal this year. New York state expects to ship a total of 200,000 tons down the Erie Canal.

Veronica Volk is a Reporter/Producer for WXXI News. She comes from WFUV Public Radio, where she began her broadcasting career as a reporter covering the Bronx, and the greater New York City area. She later became the Senior Producer of WFUV’s weekly public affairs show, Cityscape. Originally from Ocean County, New Jersey, Veronica got her B.A. in Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University, concentrating on Media, Culture, and Society.