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Governor Cuomo conveins the first-ever New York State Wine, Beer and Spirits Summit in Albany to focus on initiatives to better promote New York-produced wine, beer and spirit products.
One of the key focal points of discussion was how to get more of these products intoNew York’s restaurants. The Governor was joined on stage by New York Chefs and Rick Sampson, President and CEO of the New York State Restaurant Association.. He says “New YorkStateproducts-especially wine, beers and spirits-are some of the best in the world,” and Bringing together member restaurants with these local suppliers is a win for everyone involved.
The Governor also announced plans for a new marketing campaign to promote state-produced wine, beer, cider and spirits sales and tourism, as well as a series of regulatory reforms that will significantly reduce business costs for beverage producers.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo hosted New York’s first Wine, Beer and Spirits Summit on Wednesday where he announced plans for a new marketing campaign to promote state-produced wine, beer, cider and spirits sales and tourism, as well as a series of regulatory reforms that will significantly reduce business costs for beverage producers.
The Wine, Beer and Spirits Summit was attended by dozens of beer, wine, cider, and spirits producers, as well as farmers, industry officials, and tourism experts, who discussed with state agency officials and members of the Governor’s Cabinet specific legislative and regulatory issues facing the beer and wine industry. The participants also explored new ways for the state work as a partner to further solidify New York’s position as a leading hub of beer, wine and spirits production and tourism.
“Over the past 22 months, my administration has focused on opening New York’s doors to business and improving our state’s business climate to support growing industries so we can create jobs and grow the economy,” Governor Cuomo said. “New York’s vibrant beer, wine, cider and spirits industry supports thousands of jobs across the state and is a major driver of tourism in many communities. The important discussion held at this summit and key reforms that resulted continue our work as an entrepreneurial government to partner with the private sector to help key industries thrive and prosper.”
New York is home to more than 450 wineries, breweries, distilleries, and cideries, and many more new businesses open every year. Wine, beer, spirits, and cider producers account for more than $22 billion in annual total economic impact in the state and support tens of thousands of jobs statewide. The state ranks third in the nation in wine and grape production, has the second-most distilleries, and three of the top-producing 20 brewers in the United States are located in New York.
The state’s agriculture industry – from hops producers, barley growers, to vineyards – plays a vital role in producing the commodities needed to create beer, wine and spirits right here in the Empire State. Investing in and finding ways to support the beverage industry benefits not just wine, beer and spirit producers, but for farmers and equipment makers statewide.
After listening to a presentation by business, agriculture, and community leaders, the Governor made the following initial announcements, laying out specific steps that state government can take now to improve industry marketing and reduce burdensome regulations.
Promotion and Tourism
At the Summit, business and industry leaders identified a need for New York State to strengthen promotion and tourism efforts targeted at beverage producers. New York currently lags behind other states in promotional campaigns specifically targeted at increasing tourism and promoting state-produced wine, beer and spirits.
To address this issue, Governor Cuomo an aggressive promotion and marketing campaign that will include:
Single Point of Government Contact
Beer, wine, and spirits manufacturers and wholesalers raised concerns at the Summit about the number of different state agencies that they must deal with, not only to go into business, but to stay in compliance. These businesses, many of whom are small and do not retain attorneys on a full time basis, do not know what agency they must deal with for a particular issue and therefore can be unnecessarily subject to avoidable fines.
To address this issue, the Governor announced that a one-stop shop will be established within Empire State Development, so the industry has a single point of contact and place to call for all assistance. Designated staff from the agencies involved in regulating manufacturers and licensees, including the State Liquor Authority, Department of Agriculture & Markets, Tax and Finance Department, Labor Department, Department of Energy Conservation, Health Department, and Transportation Department, would coordinate with the one-stop-shop to respond to inquiries, host educational and training programs, and resolve problems for the licensees.
Although the state has undertaken a series of regulatory reforms to reduce burdens facing businesses including beer, wine, and spirit manufacturers, the discussion between Summit attendees revealed additional actions that could be taken to help the industry grow, while keeping in place important protections. The Governor announced the following regulatory reforms, most of which will be implemented immediately:
A working group led by Secretary to the Governor Larry Schwartz will be formed to continue to review SLA regulations.
Industry representatives described during the Summit how Canadian wine tariffs have had a negative effect on New York produced wines. The Governor announced that the state will form a working group to help find solutions.
There are federal and statutory limitations to updating beer and wine trails as wells as strict federal rules on some road signage. The Governor announced that the state will establish a working group to create new trails, similar to the Cooperstown Beverage Trail.
International Trade Shows
The Governor announced a working group, led by Secretary to the Governor Larry Schwartz, which will work to introduce New York State beer, wine, cider, and spirits to international trade shows.
The Summit follows what has already been a banner year for New York State’s beer and wine industry. In July, the Governor signed legislation designed to support New York’s breweries and wineries, as well as increase demand for locally grown farm products, and expand industry-related economic development and tourism. The new laws preserved an important tax benefit for small breweries that produce beer in New York, exempted breweries that produce small batches of beer (regardless of location) from paying an annual State Liquor Authority fee, and created a Farm Brewery license that allows craft brewers to expand their operations through opening restaurants or selling new products.