State promises $16M for craft beverage sector

Albany kicked in $16 million to support the state’s craft beverage industry on Wednesday, including $5 million for no-interest loans, plus stepped-up marketing and beverage-related tourism and grants for beverage entrepreneurs to attend educational events and showcases in other states. Gov. Andrew Cuomo also promised to cut government red tape that has slowed craft beer, cider and other small manufacturers in the sector.

“Our investments in the farm-based beverage industry have created a synergy of economic momentum for wineries, cideries, breweries and distilleries,” the governor said. “That momentum is fueling opportunity for small businesses across the state, and we are going to keep it coming well into the future.”

Cuomo announced the financial investment following a Wednesday summit, at which state officials, research and agriculture experts and beverage industry leaders pondered how to further propel New York’s burgeoning craft beverage industry. More information on the summit is here.

Cuomo said the state will spend $2 million to support the industry’s growth via $1 million in tourism promotion and a $1 million targeted advertising campaign. Additionally, Empire State Development will launch a $3 million grant program that matches 20 percent of the industry’s contributions for the marketing and promotion of wine, beer, spirits and cider produced in New York State. The funds include $400,000 to be spent on global marketing of Long Island wines and expanded shuttle service to support growing wine-related tourism here.

Cuomo also announced the creation of a working group of industry leaders, led by State Liquor Authority Chairman Vincent Bradley, that will consider revisions to the state’s alcoholic beverage control laws, with an eye toward improving licensing provisions, cutting paperwork and eliminating some restrictions. The state will also invest $5 million in zero percent interest loans of up to $50,000 to help the wine and beer industry develop export capacity. This includes developing export marketing plans, building and beefing up websites and promoting product adaptation and market certification.

The state will also expand its beer production credit to include other types of alcohol and liberalize labor laws, contract brewing and tasting rules to remove impediment’s to the sector’s growth.