For Immediate Release: April 8, 2014


New Promotional Campaign Increases Previous Commitment and Will Compliment Private Sector Contributions

Legislation Unveiled to Further Propel Industry’s Growth, Encompassing the Most Comprehensive Farm-Based Beverage License Reforms in State History

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today hosted the second New York State Wine, Beer, Spirits and Cider Summit, where he announced that the State will be launching a $6 million marketing and promotional commitment to raise the profile of New York’s beverage producers, a dramatic increase from the campaign launched at the first summit in 2012. Today’s summit brought the farm-based beverage sector together with agricultural producers and government officials in an effort to accelerate and prolong the rapid growth exhibited by the State’s beverage industry. TV-quality (h264, mp4) video of the Governor’s remarks from today’s Summit is available here, and audio of the Governor’s remarks can be found here.

Under the new marketing and promotional commitment announced by the Governor, the State will commit $2 million in direct spending to support the industry’s growth via a $1 million targeted advertising campaign and $1 million in tourism promotion funding. Additionally, Empire State Development (ESD) will launch a $2 million grant program that matches $2 million in industry contributions for the marketing and promotion of wine, beer, spirits and cider produced in New York State. Entities deemed eligible for this grant funding will include not-for-profit organizations whose primary purpose and mission is the promotion and marketing of New York State produced wine, beer, spirits and cider.

“Agriculture and tourism have the potential for tremendous growth in New York, and over the past few years we have seen that our investments in the farm-based beverage industry are resulting in new opportunities for small business owners throughout the State,” Governor Cuomo said. “The proposals and actions announced today will make it easier than ever before to start a farm-based beverage business, raise the profile of producers across the State, and open up new markets where our entrepreneurs can succeed. Today’s summit was all about creating jobs and stimulating the economy, and I am confident that by working alongside our partners in the private sector our producers will be able to thrive and compete anywhere in the world.”

Since the first summit, legislation has been enacted and initiatives have been launched to help the beverage industry open new markets and expand its visibility across the globe. This in turn has helped create thriving new businesses, increase agritourism opportunities and grow jobs in every region of the state. Since the first quarter of 2011, State actions that support agricultural producers have contributed to an 83 percent growth in farm-based beverage licenses.

Senate Majority Coalition Co-Leader Dean G. Skelos said, “New York has a host of businesses and products that put our state on the map as a leader in agriculture-based beverages, including our award-winning craft breweries and wineries that stretch from the Finger Lakes to Long Island, as well as the small, artisanal distilleries and cider-makers that are just starting up. The initiatives Governor Cuomo is proposing to bolster New York State’s beverage industry will help to ensure that small businesses can continue to grow. Not only do these proposals encourage entrepreneurship, but they help businesses succeed and stay here in New York.”

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said, “Agriculture is one of New York State’s most powerful competitive advantages and a building block for economic development. Our burgeoning wine, beer, spirits and cider production industry is incredibly valuable to our state and local economies, creating jobs and opportunities from the Hudson Valley to the shores of Lake Erie. The Assembly Majority is eager to continue our work with the vintners, brewers, distillers, farmers and other stakeholders to further nurture this growing industry and to help make these ‘Made in New York’ products the very best in the world.”

Additional actions and efforts being undertaken to support the continued growth of the farm-based beverage industry are detailed below. For further information on the 2014 Wine, Beer, Spirits and Cider Summit, click here.

New Legislation Designed to Grow the Industry

Governor Cuomo today announced plans to introduce the Craft New York Act, a comprehensive set of reforms to consolidate and simplify distilling manufacturing licenses, raise production limits and lower licensing fees for craft manufacturers, expand marketing opportunities, modernize shipping laws, and increase retail outlets where small craft manufacturers can sell, serve, and offer samples of their products.

In addition, Governor Cuomo announced that he will put forth legislation providing the Department of Agriculture and Markets with statutory authority to administratively designate wine trails across the state, expediting the siting of wine trails from two years to approximately four to five months.

Agency Actions to Support Growth and Clarify Exiting Laws

Over the coming weeks, the State Liquor Authority (SLA), the Department of Agriculture and Markets and the Department of Taxation and Finance will issue advisories offering clarifications on laws and regulations that have previously caused confusion within the beverage industry. These agencies will also take a variety of actions that will propel additional growth within the industry.

Of note, SLA will eliminate unnecessary paperwork and clarify standards on brand label registrations and the sales of growlers of beer and cider; eliminate the need for farm wineries to obtain a bond; reduce costs to manufacturers and wholesalers with multiple licenses allowing them to deliver all their products in one shipment; and provide guidance to the industry concerning the new “roadside farm market law” on who can get the license and what venues are eligible. SLA will also offer breweries interim licenses to expedite the start dates of operation.

The Department of Agriculture and Markets will provide financial relief to hops producers by exempting them from paying the fee for a food manufacturing license required in order to pelletize their products, saving them $400 on a two year license. The Department will also exempt farm cideries from obtaining a food processing license, similar to what has been done for farm wineries, distilleries and breweries.

The Department of Taxation and Finance will simplify the filing process for farm distilleries by extending the option to file annual, rather than quarterly, alcoholic beverage tax returns. In addition, the Department will publish updated guidance regarding wine tastings that are exempt from sales tax.

Taste NY Marketing and Tourism Opportunities

A Taste NY marketing and branding program at state liquor stores will be created to maximize exposure and sales. The program will include Taste NY signage to highlight New York wine and spirit brands on shelves and encourage store owners to build product displays highlighting the wide variety of New York brands.

The State has also set a goal to triple the number of restaurants participating in the Pride of NY Restaurant Pledge. Restaurants that have joined this program are working to increase their use of New York products by ten percent or more, in order to support the sourcing, marketing, and education of New York State grown and made products.

New York will also build upon the Governor’s I SKI NY Bus program announced at the Lake Placid Adirondack Challenge and initiate the Taste NY bus program during the spring, summer, and fall months to provide tours and access from New York City to the State’s wine and beverage trails in the Finger Lakes, Mid-Hudson, Long Island, Niagara Escarpment, and the Thousand Island regions.

In addition to the above initiatives, the following tourism opportunities were unveiled during today’s Summit:

  • · The State will construct rental cottages in Sampson State Park to support Finger Lakes Wine Trail tourism. $1.85 million in NY Works funding will go toward the construction of 16 new rental cottages on the eastern shore of Seneca Lake, which is directly on the Seneca Wine Trail and in close proximity to the Cayuga Wine Trail.
    · New York State will double the number of Taste NY events held from 2013 to 2014. Taste NY has coordinated with the beverage industry to identify the events of greatest importance to the exposure and sales of their products.
    · Taste NY ambassadors will be appointed to promote New York State products and events.
    · The New York Racing Association’s Saratoga Race Course will feature alcoholic beverages and foods produced in New York on specific days.
    · The first official New York State Fair Beer will be launched for the 12 day event later this summer.
    · The Governor’s Wine Cup Tour will again occur this coming August.

One Stop Shop 2.0

In 2013, Governor Cuomo launched a one stop shop designed to provide New York’s wine, beer, and spirits producers with a single point of government contact for assistance regarding regulations, licensing, state incentives, and any other questions or issues facing the industry. As a result of today’s Summit, the one stop shop will now market available state financing options to the farm-based beverage industry. In addition, a new on-line marketplace will be launched to connect farmers to beverage producers, a new business mentor program for the craft beverage industry will be launched at ESD, and state-operated webinars will be hosted on a variety of industry-related topics.

Grower Education and Research

New York State will launch a barley research initiative and secure a hops scouting specialist to provide technical assistance on Integrated Pest Management, and establish a craft brewers and industry working group to ensure communication between government and industry.

Disaster Relief

As a result of feedback from industry leaders, Governor Cuomo directed the Department of Agriculture and Markets to work with federal and industry partners to support the industry’s recovery from damage incurred by recent instances of severe weather. At the Governor’s direction, the Department will identify financial and technical assistance and help growers connect with available funding streams; investigate the extent of the damage and, should supply dictate, expeditiously allow farm wineries to purchase grapes grown outside of New York State; and initiate a dialogue with the U.S. Department of Agriculture on the issue of crop insurance for grapes and instruments for malting barley and hops.

Acting State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “Governor Cuomo and state government have done more for New York agriculture than any other Administration I have seen. It is so refreshing to have a state government that not only listens to industry but acts in its best interest. When industry and government are working together, moving in the same direction and on the same page, great things can happen. We’re seeing it now in New York’s farm-based beverage industry.”

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Kenneth Adams said, “Since the State’s first beverage summit, we’ve implemented several initiatives including a new marketing campaign to promote state-produced beverage sales and a One Stop Shop to streamline the regulatory process. We are making doing business in New York State easier and it’s working. From our $4.8 billion wine and grape industry to the unprecedented growth of our distilleries, the beverage industry is thriving and today’s summit further solidifies New York’s position as a leading hub of craft beverage production.”

State Liquor Authority Chairman Dennis Rosen said, “The Governor’s Summits have brought together craft manufacturers, industry experts, farmers, and administration officials to discuss issues and explore ways to grow and promote the State’s craft beverage businesses. More importantly, these Summits have led to action, including significant regulatory reforms, legislative changes and business-friendly policies that have led to the tremendous growth in New York’s wineries, breweries, distilleries and cideries over the past three years.”

Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald said, “Governor Andrew Cuomo is creating jobs and spurring economic growth for businesses both large and small. Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, the New York State Department of Transportation has been working with wineries and other businesses to improve highway signage and better support tourism and local businesses across the state.”

Thruway Authority and Canal Corporation Executive Director Thomas J. Madison said, “Numerous breweries, wineries, cideries, and distilleries that have been hidden gems for upstate tourism can be found all along New York’s Thruway and Canal corridors. Governor Cuomo has correctly recognized the value that businesses have for not just their own industry, but for the State’s entire economy. The Thruway Authority and Canal Corporation look forward to helping tourists visit these destinations, and want to remind everyone that whether by boat or car, please be responsible and designate sober drivers.”

For more information about New York’s growing beer, wine, spirits and cider industries, please visit


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