Senator Michelle Hinchey’s Bill Providing Parity for Craft Distillers Passes State Senate

Hinchey Bill Modernizes State’s Liquor Laws, Expands Market Opportunities for Craft Distillers in New York

ALBANY, N.Y. – A bill sponsored by Senator Michelle Hinchey (SD-46) to bolster the state’s craft beverage industry passed the State Senate unanimously yesterday. Hinchey’s bill (S.5438) will allow craft distillers to showcase and sell their products at more locations, including farmers’ markets and fairs, putting them in line with the State’s breweries and wineries.

“New York ranks second in the nation for the number of craft distillers, which play a critical role in supporting our local economies, tourism, and job market. But, right now, craft distillers in New York are bound by burdensome state laws that are holding them back from key opportunities to further establish their brands and enable their businesses to grow,” said Senator Michelle Hinchey, Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “My bill to put our craft distilling industry on equal footing with our beer and wine industries will help these business owners increase their sales, generate tax revenue, and create jobs in our rural and upstate communities. I’m proud that this bill will open up new channels for growth in this burgeoning industry, and I will always work to cut out the red tape that gets in the way of small business success.”

If signed into law, Hinchey’s bill would allow craft distillers to participate in income-generating activities that they’ve previously been barred from under New York State law, including the ability to operate tasting rooms and sell their products directly to consumers, both by the bottle and by the glass--something wineries and breweries are already allowed to do. The bill would also allow farm-based distillers to open up to five satellite locations to sell their products, on par with the number of locations currently allowed for farm wineries, breweries, and cideries.

Brian Facquet, President of the New York State Distillers Guild and Founder of Do Good Spirits in Roscoe said, “The introduction of the New York Distillers Parity legislation is critically important to our struggling industry. Senator Hinchey’s support for our industry and New York agriculture is heartfelt. This legislation will open up new opportunities for New York Distillers, allowing us to compete today and paves the way for New York to grow into a global power house  in the future.”

New York’s craft distilling industry currently features over 160 active distilleries, a 60 percent increase in the number of distilleries since 2016, which employ more than 1,350 people and generate $2.7 billion in economic activity. 

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