December 13, 2016
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces Farm Distilleries Nearly Double in Two Years of Craft New York Act

Governor Cuomo Announces Farm Distilleries Nearly Double in Two Years of Craft New York Act
Over 100 Farm Distilleries Now Operating in New York Significant Growth Direct Result of Governor Cuomo's Initiatives to Modernize and Expand New York's World-Renowned Craft Beverage Industry

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced, on the second anniversary of the Craft New York Act, the number of farm distilleries has nearly doubled since the law was implemented. This growth is a direct result of the Craft New York Act, which took effect December 13, 2014 and provided significant benefits to farm distillers. There are now 107 farm distilleries operating in New York State, with 50 new businesses opening over the last two years.

"By cutting red tape and easing regulations on farm distilleries, we are supporting the growth and expansion of small businesses that create new jobs and drive economic growth across New York," Governor Cuomo said. "From farm distilleries to breweries to cideries, the craft beverage industry is thriving, strengthening the agricultural and tourism industries, and providing real economic benefits to communities in every region of the state."

As a result of New York's leadership in supporting the industry, the growth of small craft beverage producers is leading to increased tax revenue, job opportunities, increased demand for farm products, such as corn, grains, and apples, and a bolstered tourism impact for the state. A full list of the new farm distilleries established in New York since December 2014 is available here. Overall, the number of farm-based distillery businesses in New York State has increased 10-fold since 2011, from 10 to 107.

Regulatory and legislative reforms implemented to support the development and expansion of New York craft distillers include the Craft New York Act, which provided New York farm distilleries with the opportunity to:

· conduct tastings and serve “by the bottle” and “by the glass;”
· increase the retail outlets where they can sell and offer samples of their products;
· lower the food requirement that must be met by manufacturers when offering tastings and consumption on premises;
· open offsite branch stores, eliminating the need for a separate license; and
· increase production by raising the annual manufacturing cap while maintaining low cost licensing fees.

In addition to the growth of farm distilleries, nine distilleries opened branch locations since the Craft Act went into effect. The list of branch offices is here.

The Governor championed several additional reforms previous to the Craft Act that benefit New York distilleries, including the elimination of a brand label registration fee, saving New York distilleries $687,000 in fees since 2014, and the elimination of a duplicative license for farm distilleries, providing substantial cost savings and reducing paperwork for businesses across the State.

Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Patty Ritchie said, "As we have seen in recent years, there is tremendous potential for growth when it comes to our state’s craft beverage industry. Not only have these new businesses created jobs and strengthened the overall economy, they have also helped our agriculture industry to grow, creating expanded markets and new opportunities for our hardworking farmers. I have been pleased to support changes that have made it easier for distilleries and other craft beverage producers to grow and thank Governor Cuomo, as well as Commissioner Ball for their efforts to help these important industries flourish."

Assemblyman Bill Magee, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Agriculture said, "The success of the Craft New York Act continues to provide support for the craft beverage industry through legislative reforms of regulations, increased interest in craft beverage products, and development of market outlets, allowing these businesses to become major contributors to our agricultural and tourism economies, and creating new jobs and opportunities across the state."

State Liquor Authority Chairman Vincent Bradley said, "Working collaboratively with the industry, Governor Cuomo has enacted significant legislation and created a regulatory environment that has positioned New York as a leader in craft beverage manufacturing. The hundreds of new businesses that have opened over the last five years are creating jobs, generating economic development and driving tourism in communities across New York."

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "It’s exciting to see the growth of the craft beverage industry in New York under the Governor's leadership, which is also increasing demand for our locally grown products. Our New York distillers are using New York State ingredients to manufacture unique and diverse beverages and are proving that there’s no limit to our producers’ potential."

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, "Thanks to Governor Cuomo’s commitment to boosting New York’s craft beverage industry, including the Craft Act, New York State is currently experiencing a substantial increase in farm distilleries. These businesses help to strengthen and diversify local economies by producing world class spirits while generating new jobs and creating attractive destinations for travelers."

Brian McKenzie, President, New York State Distillers Guild said, "The efforts NYS has made to modernize the alcohol beverage laws and improve the business climate for our members are paying great dividends. Our industry is growing at a very strong rate, both with new ventures starting up in recent years and established distilleries growing their businesses beyond their local markets. We're proud of the impact we are making on the NYS economy in terms of creating jobs, promoting tourism, and supporting local agriculture, and are grateful for the positive changes that have taken place."

Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, the state continues to drive the craft beverage industry forward. By passing major pieces of legislation, launching aggressive promotional campaigns, and implementing considerable regulatory reforms, this sector of the economy has become a major driver of job creation and economic development in communities across the State.

Since 2011, the number of farm-based alcohol beverage manufacturers increased by 188 percent, bringing the total number of wineries, breweries, distilleries and cideries using New York-grown ingredients to 591.