O'Mara applauds agreement to bolster craft brewing industry, says action will create jobs and strengthen regional agriculture and tourism

Thomas F. O'Mara

June 14, 2012

Albany, N.Y., June 14—State Senator Tom O’Mara (R-C, Big Flats) applauded today’s agreement between Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and both houses of the Legislature to implement regulatory reforms and tax incentives to encourage the expansion of New York State's growing craft beer industry.

The measure has now been approved by the Senate.  It must be approved by the Assembly and signed by the governor before becoming law.

The legislation is designed to support New York's breweries and wineries, increase demand for locally grown farm products, and expand industry-related economic development and tourism. The agreed-upon action will protect an important tax benefit for small breweries that produce beer in New York, exempt breweries that produce small batches of beer (regardless of location) from paying an annual State Liquor Authority fee, and create a Farm Brewery license that will allow craft brewers to expand their operations through opening restaurants or selling new products.

“It’s a strong statement in support of agriculture, business and tourism throughout the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes region, and statewide,” said O’Mara, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee.  “I strongly support this bipartisan effort to recognize a vibrant industry and take steps to help it grow, create jobs and strengthen other key industries.  The craft beer industry offers unlimited economic spin-off opportunities.”

New York's craft brewing industry already consists of more than 90 breweries, accounts for thousands of jobs and generates more than $200 million of annual economic activity.  Visit the Finger Lakes Beer Trail...

The agreed-upon legislation will:

> protect a vital tax benefit for New York State's breweries.  Under the agreement, any brewery that produces 60 million or less gallons of beer in New York would be eligible for a refundable tax credit applied against New York State personal income and business taxes. The credit amounts would be 14 cents per gallon for the first 500,000 gallons produced in New York, and 4.5 cents per gallon for the next 15 million gallons produced in the State;

> exempt small breweries that produce brands of 1,500 barrels or less annually (regardless of location) from the State Liquor Authority’s $150 annual brand label fee. This exemption, which will be eligible to brewers in and outside of the state, will save New York breweries tens of thousands of dollars, and will help smaller breweries retain the capital they need to grow their operations and create jobs;

> create a Farm Brewery License to promote the growth of craft breweries.  The agreement includes creating a "Farm Brewery" license that would allow craft brewers that use products grown in New York State to operate in a similar fashion to the state's farm wineries, leading to increased demand for locally grown farm products as well as expanded economic development and tourism. Among other benefits, it will increase retail outlets for New York products and allow Farm Breweries to open restaurants;

> exempt farm wineries, distilleries and breweries from burdensome state tax filing requirements.

Read more on the agreement...