October 15, 2015
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces Reforms Implemented Following the 2015 Wine, Beer, Spirits and Cider Summit

TOP Governor Cuomo Announces Reforms Implemented...

State Liquor Authority Today Approves 12 Reforms


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the State Liquor Authority has approved a host of advisories to help support the continued growth and development of New York’s beverage manufacturers, retailers and wholesalers. On October 7th, Governor Cuomo convened the state’s third Beer, Wine, Spirits and Cider Summit, where industry participants raised specific legislative and regulatory issues facing the industry. Working collaboratively with the industry, state actions to support beverage producers have resulted in the number of New York craft manufacturers more than doubling since 2011.

"This industry is a New York success story, creating jobs and economic activity, as well as some of the best beer, wine, spirts and cider in the world, Governor Cuomo said. "By enacting these reforms, we are furthering this administration's successful efforts to cut red tape, ease regulations, and make commonsense reforms to help these businesses further grow and thrive in every corner of New York."

While the state has implemented major regulatory and legislative reforms to reduce burdens facing businesses including beer, wine, cider and spirit manufacturers, the discussion between Summit attendees and state leaders uncovered additional actions that could be taken to help the industry grow.

SLA advisories adopted today, effective immediately, will:

  • Allow salespeople to represent multiple craft beverage manufacturers. This will increase distribution for small craft producers and provide more opportunities for salespeople to join the growing beverage industry.
  • Allow multiple craft manufacturer branch offices at the same location. This change allows a group of manufacturers to share a location, lowering operating costs and providing more retail outlets for craft products. 
  • Provide guidance for contract brewing. Today’s advisory explicitly authorizes contract brewing, allowing small breweries to use the facilities of a larger producer to manufacturer beer. This policy will benefit both large and small manufacturers, providing additional revenue for established brewers while assisting small brewers entering the market.
  • Update the marketing permits. Brewers may now purchase beer used in tastings at a retail location from the retailer, increasing the number of tastings conducted and saving manufacturers transportation costs. 
  • Authorize home wine making centers. The SLA will issue permits for wineries and farm wineries to operate as “home wine-making” centers, where customers can receive expert advice and utilize the winery’s equipment to produce wine for personal consumption. 
  • Authorize tastings at wine schools and other alcoholic beverage education classes and seminars. The SLA will issue permits for bonafide schools to conduct tastings as part of their curriculum, introducing consumers to new craft products and supporting research. 
  • Create a craft beverage tasting permit for non-profits. The SLA Board authorized permits for not-for-profits to charge admission at events where manufacturers and wholesalers offer samples and sales of alcoholic beverages.
  • Allow off-premises beer retailers to fill orders for growlers at a warehouse, rather than having to conduct the activity at their licensed premises.
  • Lower fees for seasonal additional bars. Restaurant, bar and tavern owners are allowed to operate one bar in the premises with the license, with additional bars costing the equivalent of the original license. Today the SLA Board authorized the issuance of pro-rated fee for “add bars” so retailers operating a bar on a seasonal basis, for instance on an outdoor patio or deck, are charged a fee based on the months the bar will be in operation. 
  • Clarify the ability of out-of-state brew pub owners to operate a restaurant in New York. This change will allow these companies to expand their business in this state, and licensees in this state to consider opportunities in other states. 
  • Clarify rules for conducting raffles and games of chance conducted by retailers. New guidance will allow not-for-profit organizations to conduct fundraising activities in a retail establishment provided the activities are in accordance with state laws and regulations. 
  • Provide assistance for nonprofit club licensees. The SLA today provided guidance for club licensees regarding their ability to serve non-members.

SLA Chairman Vincent Bradley said, “Once again, Governor Cuomo has demonstrated the importance bringing the industry and state leaders together to openly discuss issues, ideas and concerns. And once again, the state is taking immediate action to ensure these businesses continue to prosper and grow.”

Jim Trezise, President, New York Wine & Grape Foundation, said, “Following the precedent of the previous two Summits, Governor Cuomo and his Administration once again announced a series of major initiatives ranging from funding for marketing and promotion of New York craft beverages to a series of very helpful regulatory suggestions that could help these small family businesses to save money, spend their time more productively, and market their products more effectively. The New York State Liquor Authority’s advisories are designed to accomplish these goals, and we are grateful for their efforts and partnership with our industry.”

Paul Leone, Executive Director, New York State Brewers Association said, “As I said at this year’s Summit, we are very fortunate that Governor Cuomo and his administration continue to listen to our needs, and help us in so many ways to allow the craft beverage industry to grow in our great state. The SLA also does a tremendous job observing the craft beverage landscape by making adjustments when needed that benefits our industry as a whole, and today’s announcement is a testament to that dedication and forward thinking.

Brian McKenzie, President, New York State Distillers Guild and owner of Finger Lakes Distilling said, "The changes that resulted from the most recent Summit benefit the craft beverage industry by modernizing regulations, improving ways that we can access our customers, and lowering the costs of doing business. We're thankful for the Governor's support of our industry and look forward to showing how these changes can lead to economic benefits for the State like additional jobs, tourism promotion and support of local agriculture."

Ian Merwin, President, New York State Cider Association and owner of Black Diamond Farm in Trumansburg, NY, said, “It was a pleasure for me to participate in the recent Craft Beverage Summit, representing the NY Cider Association, and to see such quick and proactive responses by our Governor and State agencies! New York’s government has shown how important regulatory reform can be in nurturing the growth of local craft beverages that provide great food, successful tourist and restaurant opportunities, and high value markets for homegrown fruits, grains, and other foods often paired with ciders and wines, such as NY cheese. The amazing recent increases in hard cider production and consumption in our state could not have happened without this kind of leadership from the Governor and his administration.”

Matthew Jager, distiller and co-owner, Yankee Distillers in Clifton Park, NY, said, "New York distillers can continue to count Governor Cuomo as a friend and a tremendous advocate for the distilling industry. Allowing for manufacturers to operate branch offices in the same location gives Yankee Distillers the opportunity to join with a brewery, cidery, or a winery and provide an enhanced experience for craft beverage drinkers. The administration continues to listen and deliver for New York spirits producers."

Jason Barrett, head distiller and President, Black Button Distilling in Rochester, NY, said, “It’s really very impressive that a concern voiced by a small business owner can turn into actionable advisories from the State Liquor Authority to help small craft beverage producers in New York work together to expand jobs and bring our New York State grown products to more and more people. I'd like to thank the Governor Cuomo and the SLA for working together to make it so that we as small beverage producers can better compete and bring our local products to market.”

Kristen Lyons, owner of Binghamton Brewing Company in Johnson City, NY, said, "By allowing Contract brewing, the Administration has provided a way for small breweries to reduce the challenges of growth and meet demand by brewing on a larger scale using world class equipment and industry best practices. We thank Governor Cuomo first for creating the Farm Brewery license, which allowed us to open our business and for holding the Summit and acting on our concerns.”

Robert Bookman, Counsel, New York City Hospitality Alliance said, "The Hospitality Industry thanks the Governor and the SLA for acting so quickly on the reforms raised at last week's Summit. These changes will build on the progress made at the prior two Summits and will grow and strengthen this industry so that it remains the best in the world.”

Julie Suarez, Assistant Dean, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University said, “The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University is very pleased to partner with the New York State Liquor Authority in public outreach forums to the craft beverage industry, working to share research based knowledge and workforce development initiatives offered by Cornell University as part of our land grant mission. The growth of this industry is truly exciting, and I know that Governor Cuomo’s and Chairman Bradley’s many changes to make it easier to do business in New York, as well as the recent state at our Geneva campus’ Winery & Enology Lab to extend knowledge through classroom space and distance learning, will help keep the momentum growing for a long time to come.”

Keven Danow, industry attorney and partner, Danow, McMullan & Panoff said, “Governor Cuomo’s interest in and assistance to the beverage alcohol industry in New York is extraordinary. In most states, summits are where ideas are conceived and die. In New York, Governor Cuomo holds a summit and within a week, most of the problems raised are addressed and solved. Chairman Bradly, Commissioner Kim and CEO O’Brien turned ideas raised at the summit into twelve new advisories which will improve the business climate in New York dramatically. It is a tribute to the Governor’s ability to bring government and industry together for the good of the citizens of New York.”

For more information about New York’s growing beer, wine, spirits and cider industries, please visit http://www.taste.ny.gov.

To view the SLA advisories please click here http://www.sla.ny.gov/

Contact the Governor's Press Office
Contact the Governor's Press Office

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