October 17, 2014
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Marks One-Year Anniversary of Signing the Farm Cidery Law

Governor Cuomo Marks One-Year Anniversary of Signing the Farm Cidery Law

"Taste NY" to Co-Sponsor Cider Week Events in NYC and the Hudson Valley

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today marked the one-year anniversary of the Farm Cidery bill, which made a new license available to farm cideries that use crops grown exclusively in New York State. Signed by the Governor on October 17, 2013, the law has already led to the creation of eight farm cideries across the state and hard cider is now also being produced at farm wineries and breweries. Since 2011, the number of hard cider producers have increased by 480 percent, from five cideries in 2011 to 29 today.

“Last year’s farm cideries legislation opened the door to new opportunities for New York’s cider manufacturers, and the progress they have made since it became law is truly remarkable,” Governor Cuomo said. “From offering tastings to selling their world-class product alongside other made-in-New York goods, our State’s cideries are driving economic activity across the State, and I am proud that we have been able to play a part in their success.”

National sales of hard cider have skyrocketed in recent years. As the nation's second largest producer of apples, New York State is leading this trend with several progressive initiatives aimed specifically at increasing the production of hard cider across the state. The Farm Cidery Law created a license for cider manufacturers similar to licenses available to farm wineries, breweries and distilleries. In order to obtain a farm cidery license, the hard cider must be made exclusively from apples and other pome fruits grown in New York State, with production of up to 150,000 gallons annually.

New Yorkers will have the opportunity to sample ciders produced by some of New York's best craft cider makers at Cider Week events in New York City from October 24 – November 2, and in the Hudson Valley from November 14 – 23. Taste NY will once again co-sponsor these events to provide New Yorkers with an opportunity to taste some of the best ciders in the world. More information about Cider Week is available here (NYC) and here (Hudson Valley).

Devin Britton, co-owner of Bad Seed Cider Co, in Highland, NY, said, "We became a farm cidery last winter and so far it has been great. We've already built a tap room and tasting room on our property that's very accommodating for visitors. We have four of our own ciders on tap, including a Belgian Abby Cider and Blueberry Cider, and we also dedicate three other taps for other New York producers. We could have never done this without the emergence of the farm cidery license signed into law by Governor Cuomo."

Ed Kaneb, owner of Kaneb Orchards in Massena, NY, said, "We've been a licensed farm cidery since the summertime. It offered us more flexibility and also an opportunity to sell hard cider out of our store. This is the first year we have made hard cider commercially and we are already receiving accolades, including "Best Hard Cider" at the recent Governor's Cup in the Finger Lakes. This is a new aspect of our business and has opened up new avenues for both our sales and potential growth in the future."

Under the law signed one year ago by Governor Cuomo, farm cideries may operate a tasting room where they are able to sell their product by the pint, enabling them to more immediately reap the financial rewards of their hard work. Farm cideries may also sell tastings and bottles of beer, wine and spirits made exclusively from New York products and sell products such as mustards, sauces, jams, jellies, souvenirs, artwork, crafts and other gift items. These new businesses, like farm wineries, breweries and distilleries, are quickly becoming destination locations that promote tourism and drive environmentally-friendly economic development within their communities and across New York State.

The new law also raised the limit on the alcohol content for all New York-produced cider, from 7 percent to 8.5 percent, to address the organic nature of the fermentation process, in addition to allowing producers to use pome fruits other than apples, such as pears, in the production. With this progressive step, New York's hard cider manufacturers now enjoy the freedom to create ciders that are more tart and dry, capturing the true hard cider taste of Europe and early America. Most significantly, if a cider producer's product meets the definition of both hard cider and wine, the law affords the producer the choice of whether the product will be marketed and sold as wine or cider, based on their individual business and marketing needs.

The eight licensed farm cideries in New York State are:

  • · Bad Seed Cider Company, Highland, NY
    · Blackduck Cidery, Ovid, NY
    · Cunningham Creek Distributors, makers of Cider Creek Hard Cider, Canisteo, NY
    · Nine Pin Cider Works, Albany, NY
    · Fishkill Farms Apple Orchard, Hopewell Junction, NY
    · Descendant Cider Company, Queens, NY
    · Sundog Cider, Chatham, NY
    · Kaneb Orchards, Massena, NY

State Liquor Authority Chairman Dennis Rosen said, "Under the Governor's leadership, we have partnered with cider makers to update antiquated regulations and outdated policies. The legislative and regulatory changes have helped spur remarkable growth by increasing marketing and sales opportunities, streamlining licensing, and loosening restrictions for the state's small cider manufacturers."

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "Since taking office, Governor Cuomo has continued to create new opportunities for the production of home grown beverages by making it easier for entrepreneurs to meet the high demand for New York produced products. As the second largest apple producer in the nation, it only makes sense that New York would take the lead in helping local manufacturers make use of our abundant harvest to satisfy the nation's newfound taste for premium craft hard ciders."

The apple harvest in New York is currently in full swing. Last year, New York produced more than 1.4 billion pounds of apples valued at more than $237 million. The increased demand for hard cider in the state gives apple producers another avenue for maximizing the value of their harvest, as fruit that is too small or blemished to be sold at stores or farmer's markets can be sold to cider makers. Continuation of this trend will lead to increased demand for apples, additional job creation, protection of the environment and tourism dollars for local communities, as well as providing a significant revenue source for producers through the production of high value-added products like hard cider and apple spirits.

New York Apple Association President and CEO Jim Allen said, "It's hard to believe that it's only been a year since the farm cidery bill was signed into law by Governor Cuomo and what an opportunity it has presented for our industry. New opportunities for apples are opening up all over the state as a result of that legislation, including tourism, which is a major economic driver of the New York apple industry. The weather has been very accommodating for our apple orchards this fall and I encourage everyone to continue to support our growers in the weeks ahead."

The New York Apple Association has an online resource to help consumers find additional apple-related agritourism events HERE.

Contact the Governor's Press Office

NYC Press Office:  212.681.4640

Albany Press Office:  518.474.8418