New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Craft New York Act in order to cut burdensome requirements placed on craft beer producers and ease restrictions regarding the marketing of craft beers. In addition, to further develop the industry and raise the profile of New York’s beverage producers, the governor also launched the Craft Beverage Grant programs—a $2 million Craft Beverage Marketing and Promotion Grant Program and a $1 million Craft Beverage Industry Tourism Promotion Grant. Both the legislation and new grant programs are part of the governor’s promise made at the second Wine, Beer, Spirits & Cider Summit to continue to support and provide resources for this growing industry.
“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,” Governor Cuomo said. “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.”
So, here’s the details. The Craft New York Act, which will take effect in 30 days, will:
- Allow producers to conduct tastings and serve “by the bottle” and “by the glass”;
- Permit farm distilleries to 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;
- Allow farm distilleries to obtain a permit to operate a branch office, eliminating the need for a separate license; and
- Reduce costs for small manufacturers by increasing the production cap and permitting the production of more product without increased fees.
Both the number of farm based businesses manufacturing wine, beer, spirits and cider using ingredients grown in New York and the total number of manufacturers producing alcoholic beverages have more than doubled since 2011. Since Governor Cuomo took office, 220 new farm based businesses have opened across New York, including 101 new farm wineries, 62 farm breweries, 49 farm distilleries, and 8 farm cideries.
“By working collaboratively with the industry, this administration has enacted significant legislation and created a regulatory framework that has helped to foster the remarkable growth in craft beverage producers over the last four years,” said State Liquor Authority Chairman Dennis Rosen. “The changes signed into law today will further assist in these efforts, by increasing both marketing and sales opportunities, in addition to raising the amount of product our small craft manufacturers can produce.”
The $2 million Craft Beverage Marketing and Promotion Grant Program, which was created to increase the profile, awareness and sales of New York State produced wine, beer, spirits, and hard cider, will provide matching funds for the marketing and promotion of craft beverages. Up to $500,000 will be awarded to eligible not-for-profit organizations to help cover the costs associated with marketing the craft beverage industry. This includes 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. Applicants must incorporate the Taste NY initiative, and the funding is provided by Empire State Development in coordination with the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.
Also available is $1 million for the State’s Craft Beverage Industry Tourism Promotion Grant, which 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 will 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.
Nate and Josie Holden, owners of Nedloh Brewing Co., a farm brewery which opened Oct. 4, 2014, in Ontario County said: “New York was the nation’s hops capital until disease and prohibition wiped it out. With Governor Cuomo’s support and leadership, we’ve not only seen a resurgence in craft beer, but the agriculture we depend on as well. The 2014 Craft Act will continue the growth in the industry, helping Nedloh make more remarkable hand-crafted brews while also promoting New York’s wide range of world-class beers, wines, ciders and spirits. Giving people more opportunities to experience what New York has to offer will be sure to boost business and tourism.”
Eligible not-for-profit organizations can apply for both the Craft Beverage Grant Program and the Craft Beverage Industry Tourism Promotion Grant by submitting a Consolidated Funding Application. Additional program information and guidelines can be found here. For more information, contact Sam Filler at [email protected] or (518) 227-1535.
“Governor Cuomo’s second Craft Beverage Summit delivered two very significant benefits to all the craft beverage industries,” said Bill Barton, owner, Bellwether Hard Cider. “First, the SLA worked with the industry to develop smart regulation that will dramatically reduce a great deal of the usual compliance burdens. Second, the icing on the cake from the Governor is a grant program to provide us with very generous promotional funding so that we can compete both in our own backyards and outside New York. Both initiatives are fundamental to the success of newer New York craft beverage sectors such as cider and distilling.”