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Governor Cuomo Signs Craft New York Act, Promoting Craft Beverage Industry

On November 13, 2014, Governor Cuomo signed the Craft New York Act, a craft beverage law that cuts burdensome restrictions and eases marketing requirements for craft beverage producers. Additionally, to further develop New York’s growing craft beverage industry, Governor Cuomo also launched the Craft Beverage Grant program, which creates a $2 million Craft Beverage Marketing and Promotion Grant Program and a $1 million Craft Beverage Industry Tourism Promotion Grant. The new law and grant program are part of a promise made on behalf of the Governor at New York’s second Wine, Beer, Spirits & Cider Summit to further support and provide resources for the state’s growing craft beverage industry. Specifically, the Governor acknowledged:

New York produces some of the best wine, beer, spirits and cider in the world—an industry which not only creates jobs but supports farmers and brings in tourism dollars across every corner of the state. This new law builds upon this administration’s ongoing efforts to promote this industry by cutting red tape, reducing burdensome regulations and removing artificial barriers that stifled growth. New York is truly open for business, and I thank my partners in the legislature for their hard work in making this a success for all of our craft beverage businesses.

The Craft New York Act will take effect thirty days after November 13th. The new law will provide New York craft beverage producers with a significant number of benefits, including the following:

  • Producers can conduct tastings and serve “by the bottle” and “by the glass;”
  • Farm distilleries will be permitted to increase the number of retail outlets where they can sell and offer samples of their products;
  • Reducing the food requirement that must be met by manufacturers when providing tastings or consumptions on the premises;
  • Allowing farm distilleries to obtain a permit to operate a branch office, thus eliminating the need for a separate license for the branch office; and
  • Reducing costs for small manufacturers by increasing the production cap and permitting the production of more product without increased fees.

The Craft Beverage Marketing and Promotion Grant Program were instituted to enhance the profile, awareness, and sales of New York’s craft beverage industry by providing funds for marketing and promoting New York State craft beverages. As much as $500,000 can be awarded to eligible not-for-profit organizations to assist in covering the costs related to marketing the craft beverage industry, including:

  • The purchase of recognized media advertising;
  • Production costs of print collateral and audio/visual;
  • Industry related tours, marketing materials; and
  • Website design, development, and updates.

The State’s Craft Beverage Industry Tourism Promotion Grant will help grow tourism across New York State by promoting destinations, attractions, and special events explicitly related to the craft beverage industry. Working capital funding of up to $250,000 can be awarded by Empire State Development for marketing-based tourism projects intended to create or retain jobs, increase tourism in the craft beverage industry and attract visitors to New York State.

New York State’s craft beverage industry is growing dramatically and, with the help of legislative and funding initiatives like the above, shows no sign of stopping. If you are thinking about getting involved on the production side—whether as a distiller, brewer, or vintner—there truly is no better time than the present. The reductions in regulatory hurdles, as well as the reduced fees for craft or farm licenses, provide a great opportunity for smaller or startup businesses in the beer, wine, or spirits industry.

For more information on New York State wine or alcohol law, or establishing a winery, brewery, or distillery in New York, please contact Lindsey Zahn.

DISCLAIMER: This blog post is for general information purposes only, is not intended to constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship results. Please consult your own attorney for legal advice.

Lindsey A. Zahn

About 

Lindsey is the founder and author of On Reserve: A Wine Law Blog. She is an alcohol beverage and food attorney and is admitted to the New York State Bar.

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