(L-R) Curtin, Upstate Distilling founder Ryen Van Hall, Nine Pin founder Alejandro del Peral, Fahy, Amedore, Albany Distilling co-owner Rick Sicari, Indian Ladder Farmstead co-owner Laura Ten Eyck and Dietrich Gehring, representatives from S&S Farm Brewery, C.H. Evans Brewing, and The Beer Diviner // Photo: Relentless Awareness)
ALBANY – On Friday, Jan. 13, Senator George Amedore (R-105) and Assemblymember Patricia A. Fahy (D-109) introduced legislation that will allow for farm distilleries to serve New York State-made beer, wine, and cider by the glass.
Presently, farm distilleries can sell farm beer, wine, and cider by the bottle, but not for on-premise consumption. Last year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation, also sponsored by Senator Amedore and Assemblymember Fahy, allowing farm cideries to serve beer, wine, and spirits by the glass, in addition to related legislation that allowed the same privileges for farm breweries and wineries.
“This is a great day to be in Albany supporting small businesses,” said Amedore, standing in front of a large copper still at Albany Distilling Company in Albany as Cooper the cat wandered by, unimpressed. “The craft beverage industry continues to expand, and we want to give these small businesses every opportunity to grow and succeed. Cross promotion of other New York produced beers, wines, spirits and ciders is a great way for these businesses to continue to thrive, and at the same time, introduce customers to even more of the great products our farm-based craft beverage producers have to offer.”
“Craft beverage production has grown exponentially in our region and this bill encourages cross collaboration between distilleries, wineries, cideries, and breweries. This is common sense legislation that will remedy parity between the farm beverage producers,” said Fahy.
New York State is now home to more than 900 wineries, breweries, distilleries and cideries. The number of farm wineries in New York has increased by more than 60 percent, from 195 in 2010 to 316 today. Additionally, the number of microbreweries has grown by 285 percent, from 40 in 2010 to 154, while the number of farm distilleries grew from just 10 in 2010 to 98 today. Farm-based craft beverage producers have grown by 178 percent since 2011, from 205 to 570 manufacturers.
“We are small businesses that support New York State agriculture,” said John Curtin, co-founder and co-owner at Albany Distilling Company and president of the Capital Craft Beverage Trail Association, “and this legislation would go a long way in helping our farm distilleries to succeed.”
Pointing out that other state craft beverage industries no longer face the same restrictions, Curtin demonstrated by opening a bottle of local farm-crafted beer and pouring out a three-ounce sample that he said he was allowed to give away for free under current law. Once the glass was filled, however, he said, “I have to dump this down the drain now, because it would be illegal for me to serve this — even though it is a New York state product, made right here in the Capital District from New York state grain and ingredients.” Calling it “an unfortunate truth,” Curtin then emptied the glass into a nearby sink.
“This is great news. We appreciate the hard work of Assemblywoman Fahy and Senator Amedore in continuing to build New York’s farm beverage industry,” said Dietrich Gehring, co-owner of Indian Ladder Farmstead Cidery and Brewery. “We sell the Albany Distilling Company’s products as well as those of other local distilleries in the tasting room on our farm in Altamont. We are so happy that the Albany Distilling Company will hopefully soon have the opportunity to sell our beer and hard cider at their facility in downtown Albany.”
“There’s been significant growth in craft distilling in New York State. Teaming up with all of our fellow craft cideries, breweries and wineries will only strength our industry. I look forward to carrying products from local partners in what I consider to be a great progressive industry,” said Ryen VanHall, founder at Upstate Distilling.