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Andrew M. Cuomo - Governor

Governor Cuomo and Legislative Leaders Announce Agreement on Legislation to Support New York Craft Beverage Producers

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Albany, NY (June 16, 2014)

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced an agreement with legislative leaders on a bill that will continue the State’s support of the growing craft beverage industry by cutting burdensome requirements placed on producers and rolling back restrictions regarding the marketing of craft products.

 

This bill would provide New York manufacturers with greater opportunities to market their products, including allowing producers to serve “by the bottle” and “by the glass” as well as permitting farm distilleries to increase the retail outlets where they can sell and offer samples of their products. In addition, this bill would reduce costs for small manufacturers by permitting them to produce more of their product at lower fees.

 

The legislation is a result of the State’s second Wine, Beer, Spirits, and Cider Summit, held this past April. The Summit brought the farm-based beverage sector together with agricultural producers and government officials in an effort to find ways to support the rapid growth of New York’s beverage industry.

 

“New York State recognizes that the booming growth of the beverage industry means more jobs and economic activity, and we are proud to continue our support by rolling back burdensome restrictions and enabling producers to sell more, at a lower price,” Governor Cuomo said. “New York is truly open for business, and this bill demonstrates our approach is working: government can be responsive to the needs and concerns of the private sector and boost important industries throughout the state. I commend members of the legislature who worked hard to bring this bill forward and I look forward to its passage.”

 

Senate Co-Leader Dean Skelos said, "By cutting burdensome regulations and increasing support for craft beverage producers, the state is helping to provide even more opportunities for them to succeed and grow. This important industry is playing a vital role in many of our communities -- including upstate -- in boosting tourism, generating economic activity and creating new jobs. I am proud to join my partners in government in supporting this legislation."

 

Senate Co-Leader Jeff Klein said, "Craft breweries in New York are continuing to blossom and we have an obligation to promote this thriving industry that helps create jobs and grow our economy. As a direct result of these summits and similar legislation like Pride of New York that the IDC has helped develop, we will continue to move in the right direction for years to come."

 

Senator Carl L. Marcellino said, “Working together, we have demonstrated our priority to make sure that New York State is business friendly and responsive to the needs of New Yorkers.
Capitalizing on the growing popularity of craft drinks, this legislation relieves burdensome obstacles that prevent manufactures from getting their product to consumers and will help continue growth in the marketplace for our State’s beverage manufactures."

 

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said, “New York’s craft beverage manufacturers have capitalized on an opportunity to both showcase some of New York’s finest products and at the same time create countless jobs. The results have been better than anyone could possibly imagine. The Assembly has been committed to passing legislation advocating on behalf these producers in order to bring them together with both public and private sector organizations to support this rapidly growing industry. By reducing cumbersome restrictions on producers and providing new opportunities to market these craft products, today’s legislative agreement is a significant boost that will benefit craft producers, local economies and New York State as we work to keep our state open for business and welcoming to vacationers and tourists from all across the country.”

 

Current law regulating the activity of beverage manufacturers is overly restrictive. Small manufacturers are incentivized against growing by laws that increase manufacturers’ licensing fees for any modest increase in alcohol beverage productions. Additionally, manufacturers are limited in their ability to market their products.

 

Measures of the legislation include:

  • Increasing the production cap on small producers;
  • Allowing farm distilleries to operate a branch office;
  • Allowing all manufacturers to conduct tastings and sell, by the bottle or glass, the alcoholic beverages they manufacture without a separate license; and
  • Lowering the food requirement that must be met by manufacturers when offering tastings and consumption on premises.

 

The bill would take effect thirty days after it becomes law.

 

Craft manufacturers have experienced unprecedented growth over the past three years. The number of microbreweries has risen from 40 in 2011 to 100 today—an increase of 150 percent. In addition, as a result of Governor Cuomo’s 2012 Farm Brewery law, 48 new Farm Breweries have opened up across the state. The number of farm distilleries in New York State has increased 420%, from 10 in the first quarter of 2011 to 52 today, while the number of farm wineries has risen by nearly 50%, from 195 in 2011 to 289 today. In October 2013, Governor Cuomo capitalized New York’s designation as the country’s second largest producer of apples to implement legislative changes to further promote this important agricultural industry by creating the Farm Cidery law. The new law, that became effective on January 15, 2014, has already led to the creation of five new Farm Cideries. Including these five new Farm Cideries, New York is now home to 31 hard cider manufacturers, an increase of over 500% from 5 in 2011.

 

David Katleski, President, New York State Brewing Association, said, “The needs of the craft beverage industry change with our growth and this bill provides for efficiencies necessary to continue this growth. Combined, the beer, wine, spirits and cider sectors represent billions in economic benefit to New York State. We commend this administration and the SLA for directly working with us and responding to our concerns with the creation of this bill. Currently, NY state ranks 26th in the nation for breweries per capita at 165. This bill allow the provisions to increase our ranking and increase beers current economic contribution of $2.2 billion.”

 

Jim Trezise, President, New York Wine & Grape Foundation, said, "This bill marks another major improvement in the business climate for the New York wine industry, and another example of 'entrepreneurial government'. Its various provisions will streamline and consolidate paperwork, save time and money, allow efficiencies in production, and provide new opportunities for marketing and sales. Our industry already generates more than $4.8 billion in annual economic benefits for the State, and this legislation will stimulate more growth so we can increase that contribution. We thank Governor Cuomo for his leadership, the State Liquor Authority for crafting this bill in close consultation with industry representatives, and the Senate and Assembly for partnering to turn a concept into reality."

 

"This legislation is an important step towards modernizing New York's craft beverage laws. Distillers across New York State generate a positive impact upon regional tourism and economic development. Each of our distilleries are growing enterprises - hiring new employees, working with fellow local businesses, supporting local farmers, and engaging our communities in embracing our state's rich heritage in craft beverage production.The New York State Distillers Guild looks forward to continuing to work with Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders to support and grow New York's craft spirits industry," said Nicole Austin, president of the New York State Distillers Guild.

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