Barrett Helps Assembly Pass Legislation to Help Farms and Small Breweries

June 20, 2012

Assemblymember Didi Barrett (D-Mid-Hudson) announced the Assembly passed legislation that will allow farms to grow, brew and sell locally made beer (A.10694). In addition, the Assembly passed legislation to provide tax and fee relief for small breweries in New York State (A.10695). Both initiatives are sponsored by Assemblymember Barrett, have passed the Senate and are expected to be signed into law by Governor Cuomo.

“These measures are excellent news to the farms and small breweries throughout New York State,” Assemblymember Barrett said. “Not only are we helping farm and brewery small businesses by allowing them to grow and expand, but we are also helping to establish a new market which will lead to job creation and a boost in tourism in the Mid-Hudson Valley.”

The Assembly’s legislation designed to create a farm brewery license would allow farms to sell their beer and/or cider to any New York State-licensed wholesaler or retailer, as well as permit the sale of New York State-labeled beer and cider on and off the premises. The bill also allows farm breweries to expand the sales of their product to state fairs, county fairs and farmers markets. In addition, the measure would permit farms to conduct beer and cider tastings similar to local wineries.

To qualify for the brewery license, farms must manufacture, store, and sell New York State-labeled beer and/or cider and have an annual production capacity of 60,000 barrels or less. Beer or cider qualifies as New York State-labeled if the ingredients used in production are New York State-grown, such as hops and apples, Barrett noted.

The second measure passed by the Assembly is designed to offset a job-killing decision handed down in court that deemed a vital tax exemption for New York’s small breweries was improper. The new legislation will provide tax and fee relief for small breweries in a way that will pass constitutional muster.

The initiative provides a tax credit or refund of 14 cents per gallon for New York brewers on the first 500,000 gallons produced within the state, and another 4.5 cents-per-gallon credit for the next 15.5 million gallons. Brewers producing in excess of 60 million gallons annually would not be eligible for the tax credit. In addition, the measure exempts breweries from labeling fees imposed on batches of less than 1,500 barrels.

“New York has a responsibility to provide our small businesses, including farms and small breweries, with the best opportunity to grow,” Assemblymember Barrett said. “These measures will not only help expand this emerging market, they will create jobs and allow businesses to thrive.”