Earlier this month, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, signed legislation designed to lift some restrictions from New York’s expanding craft beverage industry, allowing certain businesses to increase their profile as tourist destinations.
“In every corner of the state, New York’s craft beverage industry is thriving,” Cuomo said. “These measures will further cut red tape and will give breweries, cideries and distilleries greater opportunity to expand their businesses and get the word out about their world-class products.”
The three-part legislation will allow farm distilleries to sell gifts and souvenirs, authorize retail stores to conduct tastings of liquor, beer and cider, and exempt micro-breweries from redundant sales tax filing requirements.
Prior to this bill becoming law, farm distillers were the only group among farm breweries, cideries and wineries that were not authorized to sell gift items, such as locally produced food and souvenirs. Now, they will be able to sell those items along with non-alcoholic beverages as well as liquor supplies and accessories, according to Cuomo’s office.
Also, retail stores selling beer, cider and liquor will now be able to conduct tastings without the manufacturer or wholesaler present, which was previously required.
For many small businesses, this was an unaffordable expense, according to Cuomo’s office.
The legislation will also exempt micro-breweries from certain sales tax reporting requirements. Cuomo said these filing mandates put a burden on small businesses that are often not equipped to handle the data collection needed to comply with the law. Most of the beer they produce is already accounted for in distributor sales, making it a redundant task. Farm breweries are currently relieved from submitting the annual information sales tax return, and this law will allow micro-breweries that same exemption.