Craft breweries are a significant sector in our agricultural and tourism industries, and when they do well, our economy does well. I encourage New Yorkers to sample all of what our craft brewers have to offer.” – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo


Recent Legislation

The 2014 Craft Act:

Passing of the Small Brewers Bill:

New York State brewers producing less then 300,000 bbls. Annually, or 3% of the distributors total annual brand sales, may terminate their contract provided that the brewer pays the distributors Fair Market Value for terminating the contract – arbitration decides fair market value disputes.



Protecting a Vital Tax Benefit for New York State’s Breweries

Any brewery that produces 60 million or fewer gallons of beer in New York will now be eligible for a refundable tax credit applied against New York State personal income and business taxes. The credit is worth 14 cents per gallon for the first 500,000 gallons produced in New York, and 4.5 cents per gallon for the next 15 million gallons produced in the State.


These tax credits will help encourage the continued expansion of New York’s craft brewing industry, which already consists of more than 90 breweries, accounts for thousands of jobs and supports more than $200 million of economic activity each year. Under a previous law, small brewers in New York received an excise tax exemption, but the legal structure of the exemption was challenged, leading to its repeal. With the new benefits signed into law today, every small brewer will fare at least as well as they did under the prior exemption.


Exempting Small Breweries from Paying Annual State Liquor Authority Fee

Breweries that produce brands of 1,500 barrels or less annually (regardless of location) are now exempt from the $150 annual brand label fee. This exemption, which is eligible to brewers in and outside of the state, will save New York breweries tens of thousands of dollars, and will help smaller breweries retain the capital they need to grow their operations and create jobs.





Creating a Farm Brewery License to Promote Growth of Craft Breweries

The legislation creates a “Farm Brewery” license that will allow craft brewers that use products grown in New York State to operate in a similar fashion to the state’s farm wineries, leading to increased demand for locally grown farm products as well as expanded economic development and tourism.

The new license allows Farm Breweries to grow in the following ways:

◦   Increasing Retail Outlets for New York Products: The law allows Farm Breweries to sell New York State labeled beer, wine, and liquor at their retail outlets. In addition, Farm Wineries and Distilleries will also be now permitted to sell New York State labeled beer and liquor for off-premises consumption, and Farm Distillers will also be now permitted to sell New York State labeled beer and wine for off-premises consumption.

◦   Allowing Farm Breweries to Open Restaurants: The new law allows the owner of a Farm Brewery to conduct tastings of and serve New York State labeled beer at any restaurants, conference centers, inns, bed and breakfasts or hotels that he or she owns on or adjacent to the Farm Brewery.

◦   Increasing Tastings: The new law allows Farm Breweries, Farm Wineries, and Farm Distilleries to conduct tastings of all New York State labeled beer, wine, and liquor at their premises.

◦   Selling Related Products: The new law allows Farm Breweries to sell beer making equipment and supplies, food complementing beer tastings, souvenir items, and additional products similar to those allowed under the Farm Winery statute.

In order to receive a Farm Brewery license, the beer must be made primarily from locally grown farm products. Until the end of 2018, at least 20% of the hops and 20% of all other ingredients must be grown or produced in New York State. From January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2023, no less than 60% of the hops and 60% of all other ingredients must be grown or produced in New York State. After January 1, 2024, no less than 90% of the hops and 90% of all other ingredients must be grown or produced in New York State. The beer manufactured under these guidelines would be designated as “New York State labeled beer.” The legislation is modeled after the 1976 “Farm Winery Act,” which spurred the growth of wine production in this state, including the creation of 249 farm wineries and tripling the number of wineries.


Exempting Small Breweries from Paying an Annual State Liquor Authority Fee:

Breweries that produce brands of 1500 barrels or less annually are exempt from the $150 annual brand label fee.


Exempting Farm Wineries, Distilleries and Breweries from Burdensome Tax Filing Requirements

Farm Wineries and Distilleries as well as Farm Breweries are now exempt from a costly and burdensome tax filing requirement. Currently, all beer, wine, and liquor wholesalers here in New York are required to report sales made to restaurants, bars, and other retailers. However, as Farm wineries, distilleries and breweries are small, often family owned operations, they have struggled to afford the costs of complying with this annual reporting. The burden imposed on them by this filing requirement outweighs the benefit received by the State Tax Department, as purchases from farm wineries, distilleries, and breweries account for a very small percentage of the state’s total beer and wine sales. These businesses are already required by law to maintain sales records which the Tax Department may obtain upon request, making the additional mandatory filing requirement unnecessary.


2014 Agenda

  • Amending the Farm Brewery License to meet the challenges that face this growing category of breweries without slowing the growth of the industries being created to meet the demand
  • Creating Legislation to allow microbreweries to sell for on-premise consumption
  • Add NYC excise tax language to the state production tax credit bill

Resource Links

Farm Brewery Law:

Franchise Law: