NYC Beer, Wine Summit a Boon for Businesses

No hangovers here.

New York City businesses are basking in the afterglow of the governor-sponsored “Wine, Beer and Spirits Summit.” Specifically, the city’s booming alcohol beverage industry was the intended benefactor.

New York City brewery lawyers know the governor earlier this year announced his dedication and commitment to continuing to expand the city’s small yet growing beer, wine and liquor industries, including vineyards, orchards and farms, breweries, distilleries and retailers.

This festival was fashioned after the highly-successful Yogurt Summit. But Gov. Andrew Cuomo perhaps realizes that throwing an annual big party isn’t enough to create a long-term boost. That’s why, for example, in addition to the Yogurt Summit, his administration also worked to help ease environmental restrictions on farmers. Bringing down costs overall has allowed the industry to expand.

Similarly, Gov. Cuomo has promised numerous other measures to help the industry proliferate. Some of those measures include:

  • Devoting $1 million in television advertisements specifically to promote New York wines. This money is combined with another $2 million in state funds to match whatever the industry is able to pool for the same purpose.
  • Using a public relations firms already working on promotion of the state tourism industry to specifically raise awareness about the burgeoning beer and wine industries.
  • Teaming up with the New York City-based Food Network’s Top Chef in efforts to promote.
  • Host a number of annual marketing events.

Additionally,  the Governor and State Liquor Authority announced a series of regulatory reforms to stimulate growth.

These include creating a single point of government contact for manufacturers and wholesalers who must navigate a web of state agencies in order to first obtain their state licensing and then to maintain compliance.

Other measures include:

  • Ending the prohibition against multiple manufacturing licenses at the same location. This would allow, for example, a small brewery that wanted to make whiskey the option to do so without having to open up an entirely new facility.
  • Allowing beer and cider producers to obtain temporary permits to sell at special events and street fairs.
  • Allowing craft manufacturers to sell bottles during taste testings. Current law only allows them to do so during farmers’ markets and state fairs, but can only provide samples during other events.
  • Slashing the fee for manufacturers’ marketing permits from $750 annually to $125 annually.
  • Reduction of license application requirements for manufacturers. As it is now, the amount of documentation required is tremendous, and can stand as a significant hurdle to a new business or a business hoping to expand.
  • The elimination of the Duplicative License for Distilleries and Breweries. Typically, this costs an additional $400. Farm wineries were already exempt, but now farm distilleries and breweries will be as well.

Currently, the state has an estimated 450 wineries, distilleries, breweries and cideries. These producers generate an annual revenue of approximately $22 billion, and also support tens of thousands of jobs in the state. In fact, New York ranks third in the nation in grape and wine production. It also has the second-highest number of distilleries and has three of the country’s top-producing 20 brewers.

It’s a great time to get into the alcohol industry in New York. But even with the reduction in regulations and promotional boosts, it can be a tough market, and you want to ensure you have the best possible chances for success or growth by hiring an experienced New York City liquor license lawyer to help you lay the proper foundation.

The Wright Law Firm is a business law firm located in Midtown Manhattan. Call (212) 619-1500 for a confidential consultation.

Additional Resources:

Governor Cuomo Announces New Tourism Campaign and Regulatory Reforms at New York’s First Wine, Beer and Spirits Summit, Oct. 24, 2012, Press Release, Governor’s Press Office