Governor Cuomo Signs Legislation to Lift Burdens on Craft Breweries, Distilleries & Cideries

Image courtesy, the rest is a press release-PGA

Allows farm distilleries to sell gift items, including food, craft products, and souvenirs

Authorizes tastings at retail stores without the presence of a manufacturer

Exempts micro-breweries from redundant tax filing requirements

Governor Cuomo signed legislation that will make business easier for craft beverage companies in New York State. These three measures will allow farm distilleries to sell gifts and souvenirs, authorize retail stores to conduct tastings of liquor, beer and cider, and exempt micro-breweries from redundant tax filing requirements.

“In every corner of the state, New York’s craft beverage industry is thriving and we’re committed to helping it further grow to create more jobs and more economic activity,” Governor Cuomo said. “These measures will further cut red tape and will give breweries, cideries and distilleries greater opportunity to expand their businesses and get the word out about their world class products.”

Allows Farm Distilleries to Sell Gift Items

Prior to this bill (S.4800 / A.7001), farm distillers were the only group among farm breweries, cideries and wineries that were not authorized to sell gift items, such as locally produced food and souvenirs. Now, they will be able to sell those items along with non-alcoholic beverages as well as liquor supplies and accessories.

Senator George Amedore said, “New York’s beverage industry continues to grow, and we want to do everything possible to encourage further expansion. Under this new law, farm distilleries will be given the same opportunities that farm breweries, cideries, and wineries currently have to increase their revenue, encourage repeat customers, and improve their business by selling gift items. I want to thank Governor Cuomo for recognizing the disparity, and signing this legislation that will help our farm distilleries succeed.”

Assemblywoman Pat Fahy said, “Enabling farm distilleries to sell food, souvenirs and other gift items will bring extra income and promote a better visitor experience. The craft beverage industry in this state is booming – and critical, common sense steps like this make it easier than ever before for small businesses to succeed and grow right here in New York. I thank the Governor for signing this bill that will bring our farm distilleries in line with other producers and help ensure that they thrive.”

John Curtin, Owner of the Albany Distilling Company, Inc., said, “The craft beverage industry has been a strong component of New York State’s economy for decades now. It’s really gratifying to finally have a governor and a legislature that both recognize and support the growth of New York’s distilleries. Distillers, along with wine, beer, and cider producers, are part of the destination economy. With this now in effect, this allows for our businesses to grow and continue to spread the word that New York is open for business.”

Authorizes Tastings at Retail Stores Without Presence of Manufacturer

Additionally, retail stores that sell beer, cider and liquor will now be able under the bill (S.5333-A / A.8043) to conduct tastings without the manufacturer or wholesaler present. Previously, a representative from the manufacturer or wholesaler of the product had to be present at the store and conduct the tasting. For many small businesses, this was an unaffordable expense and now, they will not be required to be present in order for their product to be sampled.

Senator Carl L. Marcellino said, “As craft brews, ciders and distilled beverages continue to grow in popularity, we want New York retailers to have the tools necessary to market these products and allow consumers the opportunity to sample before they choose. This new law will help customers make informed decisions and will give retailers another marketing device to increase their sales.”

Assemblyman Robin Schimminger, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Economic Development, said, “I am so glad that we are once again easing burdensome requirements placed on the cider, beer and liquor industry. By allowing licensed retail premises themselves to offer onsite beer, cider and liquor tastings to consumers 21 and older, we are promoting regional products, increasing tax revenue and enabling the continued growth of this burgeoning New York industry.”

Exempts Micro-Breweries from Certain Tax-Filing Requirements

The third bill, (S.4282 / A.7106) will exempt micro-breweries from certain tax requirements. These filing mandates put a burden on small businesses that are often not equipped to handle the data collection needed to comply with the law. Most of the beer that they produce is already accounted for in distributor sales, making it a redundant task. Farm breweries are currently relieved from submitting the annual information sales tax return, and this law will allow micro-breweries that same exemption.

Senator Betty Little said, “The number of micro-breweries across New York is growing by the day, and we want to do everything we can to help them succeed and grow. These small businesses often do not have the capability to handle large amounts of data collection for taxes, and this bill will ensure that micro-breweries receive the same benefit of exemption as farm breweries. I thank Governor Cuomo for signing this legislation and look forward to continuing to develop the robust beverage industry we have in this state.”

Assemblyman Kevin Cahill said, “With over 200 breweries in operation accounting for more than 11,000 jobs, craft beer in New York is approaching a $4 billion enterprise. As New Yorkers increasingly gain interest in buying and consuming locally produced goods, we must continue to promote meaningful policies that ensure the success of this critical component to our state’s commerce and vibrant culture. Enacting this commonsense legislation will greatly assist our blossoming craft beverage industry by removing arduous reporting requirements so that these small businesses can spend more time practicing their trade instead of completing paperwork.”

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