Third NYS Wine, Beer, Spirits and Cider Summit

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

On October 8, 2015, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and other State and industry representatives conducted the State's Third Wine, Beer, Spirits and Cider Summit. At the Summit, the Governor announced new initiatives that are expected to create an investment of up to $16 million from New York State to help support the growth of the State's craft beverage industry.

Why is this relevant now? The new State initiatives announced at the Summit create opportunities for industry members and others, including possible access to grants and other forms of funding that may aide in furthering the growth and development of the craft beverage industry in New York State. Some of the more significant developments include the following:

(A) Empire State Development will establish a $3 million grant program that matches 20 percent of the industry's contributions for the marketing and promotion of wine, beer,spirits and cider produced in New York State. Entities eligible for the grant program will include private entities in partnership with (new) not-for-profit organizations, and not-for-profit organizations whose primary purpose and mission is the promotion and marketing of New York State craft beverages.

(B) The Global NY Development Fund will reserve $5 million for no-interest loans to help members of the wine and beer industries develop export capacity. The maximum amount of each loan under this plan will be $50,000.

(C) The State will expand the beer production credit to include other types of alcoholic beverages. This will be done using existing credit benefit amounts of 14 cents/gallon for the first 500,000 gallons and 4.5 cents/gallon thereafter. Limits on the volume of product eligible for the credit will be 20 million gallons for wine and cider (at a maximum credit of$745,000 per taxpayer) and 800,000 gallons for liquor (at a maximum credit of $83,500 per taxpayer). The expanded credit will take effect on January 1, 2016.

In addition to the developments described above, it is anticipated that the State Liquor Authority will be issuing new advisories intended to clarify matters pertaining to such areas as the use of branch offices by multiple producers, the sale of off-premises beer in growlers and the number of manufacturers for whom salespeople may work.

How else am I affected? As a result of the developments from the Summit, holders of both manufacturer/wholesaler class licenses and retail licenses must determine whether changes to their present operating methods are required. Further, holders of all classes of liquor licenses should monitor advisories issued by the State Liquor Authority as they will provide additional clarification on matters discussed at the Summit.

What should I do now? We feel it is appropriate to determine whether your operation is affected by developments from the Summit. Like other recent changes to the ABC Law, the developments from the Summit may provide expanded opportunities for alcoholic beverage business, provided compliance requirements are met. Once this determination is made, you can assess whether changes to operations and/or additional licensing are needed to pursue your future plans.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss this further, please contact Zachary R.Benjamin at (315) 422-1152.

Costello, Cooney & Fearon, PLLC has provided expert and diverse legal services to Syracuse and surrounding communities for more than 100 years.