Assemblyman Magee’s Legislation to Create Farm Brewery Licenses Passes Assembly

Law will help boost local economy and tourism, create new jobs
June 20, 2012

In an effort to help local farmers and businesses grow and create jobs, Assemblyman Bill Magee (D-Nelson) announced the Assembly passed legislation he authored to allow farms to grow, brew and sell locally made beer (A.10694). This legislation is expected to become law.

“New York’s craft brewing industry supports more than $200 million of economic activity each year,” Assemblyman Magee said. “Under this law, farmers and brewers will be given many more options to expand their businesses and market their products. Craft beer brewed on farms will be able to be sold at farmers markets and the crops needed to brew beer will be allowed to be grown – giving our agricultural economy a much-needed shot in the arm.”

Assemblyman Magee’s bill will allow farm breweries to sell their product, for consumption off the premises, at state fairs, county fairs and farmers markets. In addition, this measure will allow farm brewery licensees to manufacture, bottle and sell food products and condiments, as well as store and sell other items, such as non-alcoholic beverages, food items, beer supplies and accessories, beer-making equipment and souvenirs.

Locally, this measure paves the way for Empire Brewing Company, a Syracuse restaurant that brews its own beer, to move ahead with plans to build a stand-alone brewery just outside of Cazenovia, helping expand economic growth and create new jobs in the community, Assemblyman Magee added.

“Assemblyman Magee clearly recognizes the contribution the craft brewing industry is making to revive the state’s economy by creating jobs and allowing a clear path for farm brewery agritourism,” David Katleski, owner of Empire Brewing Company and president of the New York State Brewers Association, said. “This legislation gives incentives which will allow brewers and farmers to work together revitalizing the once thriving hop industry throughout the state, particularly Madison County – once the hop growing capital of the world. The new Farm Brewery license will also encourage farmers to grow much needed barley used in the brewing process. The overall deal announced by the Governor and legislative leaders last week, gives us the help we need to continue to add jobs and keep prices down for our loyal customers while strengthening our bond with area farmers.”

In order to qualify for the farm 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. To be considered New York State-labeled beer or cider, the products must be made from New York State-grown ingredients or apples, respectively, which will further boost farm sales, Assemblyman Magee said.

Assemblyman Magee is also co-sponsoring a measure that would provide a tax credit or refund of 14 cents per gallon for New York brewers on the first 50,000 gallons produced in state, and another 4.5 cents-per-gallon credit for the next 15 million gallons (A.10695). This bill will also waive the annual brand label registration fee of $150 for brands sold in state, as long as less than 1,500 gallons of each brand are produced every year.