Cuomo raises a glass to craft-beverage industries

Half full: New York State craft-beverage makers can now sell rival producers' products by the glass.

Good news for Long Island Wine Country and the Island’s other burgeoning craft-beverage industries: Albany is updating “archaic” laws to allow vineyards and microbreweries to sell any New York-made “farm alcoholic beverage” by the glass.

Recognizing that variety is the spice of the craft-beverage life, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday signed two measures modernizing the state’s 80-year-old Alcoholic Beverage Control Law. Together, the bills allow farm wineries, microbreweries and “cideries” to sell any Empire State-produced spirit by the glass at their production facilities or off-site store.

Gov. Cuomo: Drink New York.

Gov. Cuomo: Drink New York.

Until now, farm manufacturers’ by-the-glass selling has been limited to products they produce on site. Now, vintners can offer glasses of other vineyards’ wines and microbreweries can keep a selection of regional varieties on tap – potentially huge drawing cards for individual businesses.

Breaking down those “artificial barriers” will “help this already booming industry grow further,” Cuomo said in a statement announcing the updated ABC statutes.

“These new laws … help increase exposure to New York’s world-class beer, wine, cider and spirits,” the governor said.

The by-the-glass breakthrough is the latest attempt by the Cuomo administration to modernize dated ABC Law that often prevents New York’s craft-brew industries from blossoming. Cuomo recently signed legislation allowing for the sale of alcoholic beverages at on-premises establishments before noon on Sundays, a win for buyers and sellers gearing up for an afternoon of football watching, among others.

“As I’ve said many times, when New Yorkers buy and support New York products, everyone wins,” Cuomo said Tuesday.

The number of registered New York farm-based alcoholic beverage manufacturers has more than doubled since 2011, according to the governor’s office, with registrations increasing 13 percent since 2015. The state is now home to over 500 registered wineries, breweries, distilleries and cideries, with the number of wineries alone increasing from 195 in 2010 to 315 today.

Other industry encouragements by the Cuomo administration include the creation of two new state licenses: the Farm Brewery License in 2013 and the Farm Cidery License in 2014.

The craft-beverage industry is seen by Albany as a major source of tax revenue, job creation and tourism opportunities. State Sen. Patricia Ritchie (R-Watertown), who chairs the Senate’s Agriculture Committee, said the new by-the-glass laws “will cut red tape and, in turn, allow business owners to expand their markets.”

“In every corner of our state, the work done by craft beverage producers is encouraging consumers to ‘buy local,’ boosting our economy, strengthening our agriculture industry and creating jobs,” Ritchie said.


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