NYS Approves Reforms in Craft Beverage Industry
The New York State Liquor Authority approved a series of reforms to make it easier for the ever expanding craft beer industry to continue to expand. New York now has nearly nine hundred craft beverage manufacturers.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that the State Liquor Authority has approved a number of advisories to support the continued growth and development of New York’s beverage manufacturers, retailers and wholesalers. The Governor stated, "This industry is a New York success story, creating jobs and economic activity, as well as some of the best beer, wine, spirts and cider in the world, Governor Cuomo said. "By enacting these reforms, we are furthering this administration's successful efforts to cut red tape, ease regulations, and make commonsense reforms to help these businesses further grow and thrive in every corner of New York." The advisories adopted include the following:
Allow salespeople to represent multiple craft beverage manufacturers. This will increase distribution for small craft producers and provide more opportunities for salespeople to join the growing beverage industry.
Allow multiple craft manufacturer branch offices at the same location. This change allows a group of manufacturers to share a location, lowering operating costs and providing more retail outlets for craft products.
Provide guidance for contract brewing. This explicitly authorizes contract brewing, allowing small breweries to use the facilities of a larger producer to manufacturer beer. This policy will benefit both large and small manufacturers, providing additional revenue for established brewers while assisting small brewers entering the market.
Update the marketing permits. Brewers may now purchase beer used in tastings at a retail location from the retailer, increasing the number of tastings conducted and saving manufacturers transportation costs.
Authorize home wine making centers. The SLA will issue permits for wineries and farm wineries to operate as “home wine-making” centers, where customers can receive expert advice and utilize the winery’s equipment to produce wine for personal consumption.
Authorize tastings at wine schools and other alcoholic beverage education classes and seminars. The SLA will issue permits for bonafide schools to conduct tastings as part of their curriculum, introducing consumers to new craft products and supporting research.
Create a craft beverage tasting permit for non-profits. The SLA Board authorized permits for not-for-profits to charge admission at events where manufacturers and wholesalers offer samples and sales of alcoholic beverages.
Allow off-premises beer retailers to fill orders for growlers at a warehouse, rather than having to conduct the activity at their licensed premises.
Lower fees for seasonal additional bars. Restaurant, bar and tavern owners are allowed to operate one bar in the premises with the license, with additional bars costing the equivalent of the original license. Today the SLA Board authorized the issuance of pro-rated fee for “add bars” so retailers operating a bar on a seasonal basis, for instance on an outdoor patio or deck, are charged a fee based on the months the bar will be in operation.
Clarify the ability of out-of-state brew pub owners to operate a restaurant in New York. This change will allow these companies to expand their business in this state, and licensees in this state to consider opportunities in other states.
Clarify rules for conducting raffles and games of chance conducted by retailers. New guidance will allow not-for-profit organizations to conduct fundraising activities in a retail establishment provided the activities are in accordance with state laws and regulations.
Provide assistance for nonprofit club licensees. The SLA today provided guidance for club licensees regarding their ability to serve non-members.