Gov. Cuomo Signs Ritchie Bill to Boost Craft Brewers

Patty Ritchie

July 18, 2012

Cutting Taxes and Red Tape to Give NY an Edge in Growing Industry to Create Jobs 

Governor Cuomo today signed into law a measure sponsored by Senator Patty Ritchie that include tax breaks and other incentives, to help boost the growing craft brewing industry in the state, boost tourism, reestablish New York farmers as leaders in the hops production—and help create new jobs.

“Producing great beer is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to our state’s craft breweries,” said Senator Ritchie. “This new law helps to strengthen this growing industry, while at the same time increasing demand for locally-grown farm products, creating jobs, expanding industry-related tourism and providing a boost to our state’s economy.”

“I want to congratulate Governor Cuomo for recognizing the exploding demand for these products, and for working together with the Legislature to provide this important boost to farmers and to New York’s economy,” said Senator Ritchie, who is chair of the Senate’s Agriculture Committee.

The bills signed by the Governor today include S.7727, sponsored by Senator Ritchie which:

Recognizes “Farm Breweries”

Similar to winery operations now permitted on farms, farmers will be able to craft-brew “New York” beer with specific levels of locally grown ingredients, gradually increasing from 20 percent to 90 percent by 2024;

Permits Sales of “New York cider”

Farmers would be able to produce and sell “hard cider” made from 100 percent New York ingredients;

Permits off-premise sales

The new law permits farm breweries to sell New York State labeled beer for off-premises consumption, open restaurants adjacent to their breweries, conduct tastings, and sell beer making equipment, supplies, food complementing beer tastings, souvenir items and other products; 

Waives fees

Farm breweries producing 1,500 barrels or less annually will be exempt from an annual “brand label fee,” as well as certain other tax and filing fees;

The Governor signed a second bill that restores tax savings for small breweries that had been overturned by a court.

New York’s $200 million a year craft brewing industry already includes more than 90 breweries, and employs thousands, a number certain to grow with the signing of the new law.

In addition to supporting craft brewing, the new law is a major boost to farmers because it requires that, by 2024, 90 percent of ingredients in farm-brewery products are grown or produced in New York State.

The new law is modeled after the 1976 “Farm Winery” act, which helped New York become a world leader in locally produced wines and helped to create 249 farm wineries.

The new law was sponsored in the Assembly by Agriculture Committee Chairman Bill Magee.