The number of craft beverage manufacturers has grown by 50 percent since the enactment of the Craft New York Act three years ago, according to state officials.
The Craft Act went into effect on Dec. 13, 2014, continuing the state’s support of the growing craft beverage industry. Since then, 340 new craft beverage businesses have opened their doors across the state, officials said.
“This administration has worked hard to cut red tape, lower costs and roll back burdensome regulations for New York’s craft beverage industry – efforts that are clearly paying off in every corner of this great state,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. “I’m proud of the continued growth of this sector, which has created jobs, spurred tourism, supported New York farms and led to the creation of top-notch world-renowned products.”
New York state has implemented a series of legislative and policy changes to capitalize on the soaring consumer demand for locally produced craft beverages and to make it easier to open and run a craft manufacturing business, officials said. These improvements include lowering taxes and fees, providing support for research, creating new licenses for farm breweries and cideries, rolling back restrictive regulations, cutting the time it takes to obtain a license in half and overhauling the state’s antiquated Alcoholic Beverage Control law.
The 2014 Craft Act cut requirements placed on producers and eased restrictions regarding the marketing of craft products by: relaxing rules for conducting on and off-site tastings and sales; providing additional opportunities for small manufacturers to reach new customers; increasing annual production limits while keeping licensing fees low; allowing farm distilleries to open a no-fee off-site branch location; and launching a $2 million Craft Beverage Marketing and Promotion Grant Program and a $1 million Craft Beverage Industry Tourism Promotion Grant.
In the three years since the Craft Act was enacted, 35 cideries, 60 wineries and farm wineries, 67 craft distillers and 178 craft breweries have opened for business in the state. Of those 340 new businesses, 260 are farm-based producers that use locally sourced ingredients in their production, according to the state.
New York state now ranks in the top five in the U.S. for its number of craft beverage producers in every category. The state ranks fourth in the country for both the total number of wineries and the total number of breweries, second in the country for the number of craft distillers and first for the number of hard cider producers.
New York State Liquor Authority Chairman Vincent G. Bradley said New York “is being recognized across the country and across the world for our high-quality craft beverages.”
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard Ball said craft beverage manufacturers “are smart, innovative entrepreneurs with a dedication to excellence, and it shows in their products. As the industry grows, we are seeing more and more producers using local ingredients straight from the farm, which is beneficial to our agricultural sector and the regional economy.”
New York State Brewers Association Executive Director Paul Leone said “simply allowing breweries to serve beer by the glass in their tasting rooms has been a game changer for the craft brewing industry in New York state. Not only did it provide breweries with a critical revenue stream that allowed further growth in the hiring of more employees, but also in expansions and infrastructure. Add the enhanced tourism aspect, and you have the perfect storm of economic growth from all 4 beverage sectors.”
The changes have not only ushered in an explosion in the craft industry, but have also generated employment and economic development for supporting industries, including bottling, construction, freight, printing and advertising, officials said. New York agriculture has benefited directly from the Farm Brewery and Farm Cidery legislation through increased demand for locally sourced farm products.
According to Cornell University, the acreage of hops grown in New York state has nearly doubled from 2014 to 2016, and the acreage of malting barley has increased by 374 percent in the same two-year time period, from 422 to approximately 2,000 acres. At the same time, the growth of agritourism in the craft beverage sector further bolsters New York’s massive $100 billion tourism industry.