Albany, NY - July 24, 2014 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the formation of the first-ever NY Craft Brewer Workgroup, which will put forth recommendations on ways to continue spurring the rapid expansion of the state’s craft beer sector. The workgroup, which is a direct result of the 2nd Wine, Beer, Spirits and Cider Summit, will consist of representatives from the craft beverage industry, higher education and research institutions, the agricultural sector and state government.
“New York’s craft beer industry has seen tremendous growth in the past four years – and we plan to keep the momentum going,” Governor Cuomo said. “By bringing together leaders from industry, academia and the public sector, we can make sure that the Empire State becomes an even better place to brew and promote world-class beverages. That’s what I’ve charged this Workgroup with doing, and I am confident that they will play a large role in continuing to cultivate a vibrant environment for the craft beer industry.”
The workgroup will help coordinate and improve communication between all segments of the craft brew industry and state government. Members will also work together to identify emerging needs, including research on new varieties of hops and barley, production methods and consumer trends; as well as making sure that the state has the infrastructure in place for this growing industry.
The workgroup will also continue where the summit left off by reviewing areas of potential regulatory reform and guiding the continued development of Empire State Development’s One Stop Shop, which is designed to provide New York’s beverage producers with a single point of government contact for assistance regarding regulations, licensing, state incentives, and any other questions or issues facing the industry. Members will assist in the development and/or direction of promotional and marketing programs such as Taste NY, Pride of New York and Trails to promote New York agriculture, while exploring grant opportunities potentially beneficial to the industry.
Members of the workgroup, which will be led by the Commissioner of the State Department of Agriculture and Markets, include:
- Gary C. Bergstrom, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology at Cornell University
- Jimmy Carbone, Host, Beer Sessions Radio
- Larry Fisher, President, Northeast Hop Alliance
- Steve Hindy, Co-founder, Brooklyn Brewery
- David Katleski, Founder of Empire Brewing Company and President of the NYS Brewers Association
- Paul Leone, Executive Director, NYS Brewers Association
- Natalie Mattrazzo, Co-Owner, The FarmHouse Brewery
- Steven Miller, Cornell Hop Specialist
- June Russell, Manager of Farm Inspections & Strategic Development at Greenmarket, GrowNYC
- Gregg Stacy, Vice President, Director of Marketing & Sales at Brown's Brewing Company
- Bill Verbeten, Regional Extension Agronomist, Cornell Cooperative Extension
- Justin Whipple, Owner of Whipple Brothers Farms
Representatives from the State Liquor Authority and Empire State Development will also participate in the workgroup.
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “The Governor’s farm-based beverage summits laid the groundwork for unprecedented growth within the industry, and this workgroup will take this one step further. Governor Cuomo has brought together some of the best and brightest minds within the industry to examine challenges and develop working solutions. It’s an exciting time to be part of New York agriculture and the boom in the craft brewing industry is a major reason why.”
State Liquor Authority Chairman Dennis Rosen said, “Under the Governor’s leadership, New York craft producers have experienced an explosion of growth as the state has partnered with industry to create new craft manufacturing licenses, overhaul antiquated laws, and modernize regulations. This workgroup will enhance this partnership, as we work together to further expand opportunities for our farm-based entrepreneurs to continue generating jobs and environmentally friendly economic development in communities across the state.”
Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Kenneth Adams said, “The tremendous growth in the beverage industry is a direct result of the sector’s key players working together with the State to address potential obstacles. The NY Craft Brewer Workgroup will further this collaboration by enhancing our communication and responsiveness to the needs of the craft beverage industry, while helping to create jobs and better promote our locally made products.”
In July 2012, Governor Cuomo signed legislation creating a farm brewery license to promote the use of local ingredients in craft beers. Since that law took effect in January 2013, 48 new Farm Breweries have opened up across the state. Like Farm Wineries, Farm Breweries craft “New York” beer with specific levels of locally grown ingredients, gradually increasing from 20 percent to 90 percent by 2024. Farm Breweries enjoy similar privileges to Farm Wineries, including the ability to operate up to five offsite retail outlets, open restaurants, conduct tastings and sell related products that may include souvenirs, food to complement beer tastings and equipment and supplies.
New York microbreweries continue to experience unprecedented growth. The Empire State is now home to 100 microbreweries, a 150 percent increase from 2011. Additionally, the number of restaurant brewers has increased from 10 in 2011 to 26 today, which amounts to a 160 percent increase.
Currently there are approximately 225 acres of hops planted in New York State, of which 150 acres will be harvested this year—amounting to over 100,000 pounds of hops.