Gov. Andrew Cuomo Takes Steps At End Of Industry Summit
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 11/01/2012 -- At the end of a Wine, Beer, and Spirits Summit held in Albany last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced changes in fees and regulations intended to assist the Empire State’s artisans of alcohol. The industry has become increasingly important within the state.
The governor noted what he called the “phenomenal growth” of the industry during his 22 months in office, citing New York State Liquor Authority data showing 17% more farm wineries, 74% more microbreweries and 211 percent more farm distilleries.
New York has long produced well-regarded wines, especially in the Finger Lakes region, the Hudson Valley and Long Island. The state ranks third among the states in grape production, trailing only California and Washington state.
The day-long summit started with a two-hour morning session, where industry professionals shared their gripes about the state’s licensing fees, regulations, legislative meddling, and outmoded laws inhibiting industry growth. Winery owners wanted to end the state legislature’s role in setting wine trails for state tourism development efforts. Distillers and cider makers wanted more inclusion in tourism efforts. Brewers wanted approval of centralized grain deposits and mobile bottling plants.
After lunch, Cuomo announced changes designed to boost the industry, especially its smaller members. The governor pledged the Empire State Development Corp. would spend $1 million to advertise New York’s craft alcoholic beverage makers. He promised another $2 million if the industry could put up a matching amount. This year, the state spent a total of $700,000 on promoting New York alcohol products.
Cuomo also said the state would revise its regulations to allow a single winery or brewery to develop multiple products under a single license, rather than the multiple licenses currently required. He proposed letting two different classes of beverages be produced in the same facilities, ending a requirement for separate facilities. The governor also said the state would lower the annual fee for companies from $1,000 to $125 in order to sell their products at tasting events for consumers. The state will also drop a ban on owners personally selling their products.
Addressing industry concerns, Cuomo also said the state would do more to promote state-produced beverages at the New York state fair and at racetracks. He acknowledged state efforts to draw tourists to wineries “need serious reform.” He also promised to head up a major push to promote state-produced alcoholic beverages in the highly competitive New York City market. The summit closed with a reception at the governor’s mansion, highlighted by a tasting event featuring products from nearly two dozen of the state’s wineries, brewers and distillers.
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