In a flurry of last minute deal making and breaking in Albany this week, the NYS Legislature and Governor Cuomo took some bold steps to help the craft beer industry in NY. How does this impact us? A number of ways, not the least of which it helps Good Nature Brewing with their ongoing expansion and it paves the way for Empire Brewing to build its brewery in Cazenovia.
I have said 1000 or more times that I want to see what happened for grapes and wine west of Interstate 81 35 years ago, happen for hops and beer east of 81 today. The farm brewery law agreed upon this week will help do that. The bill essentially puts farm brewers on a level playing field with the farm wineries in the state. Giving them lots of opportunities to sell their product, reduced licensing fees and all around making it easier to open a brewery in NYS. The bill is a boon for farmers too as it requires and escalating percentage of ingredients in the beer come from NYS. Could we soon see a barley malter set up shop nearby? Get on that economic developers!
The other big news to come out of the package of bills is that NYS will now offer a tax credit to in state brewers on the 14-cent per gallon excise tax that is charged. In state brewers had been exempt from the tax until this spring when the exemption was shot down by the courts. This will go a long way to keeping prices reasonable and allowing small brewers such as Good Nature to make better profits. Also waived is the $150 per label registration fee for beers as long as less than 1500 gallons are brewed. The fee doesn’t sound like much but brewers that make small batches of a lot of different beers were faced with mounting costs and the question of if it was worth it or not.
All said, it was a great week for beer in NYS and in the Central NY area and we would be remiss if we didn’t thank Assemblyman Bill Magee and Senator Dave Valesky for their help in bringing these bills to attention in their respective houses and to the governor.