Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed into law a measure establishing a new license for farm cideries similar to the license that is already available to farm wineries, breweries and distilleries.

Assemblyman Robin Schimminger (D-C-I-Kenmore), sponsor of the bill and chairman of the Assembly Economic Development Committee, said “The Governor’s approval of this legislation is great news for apple growers in Western New York and throughout the state. They will now be able to produce and sell hard cider from apples grown here in New York, which will in turn promote economic growth, tourism and job creation.”
The new law authorizes the establishment and licensure of farm cideries for the manufacture and sale of cider made from crops grown in New York State and excludes licensed farm cideries from the state’s sales tax information return filing requirements. In order to obtain a farm cidery license, the hard cider must be made exclusively from apples grown in New York State and no more than 150,000 gallons may be produced annually. Farm cideries would be allowed to offer tastings of and sell not only cider, but also beer, wine, and spirits also made from New York products.

“By allowing farm cideries to expand the activities that can be conducted at the licensed premises, these businesses, much like farm wineries, will become destination locations that will promote tourism within their communities,” said Schimminger. “In addition, the need for apples in the production of New York State labeled cider will create a sustained demand for products from New York’s farmers.”

Schimminger noted that as with farm wineries, distilleries and breweries, it would be difficult for farm cideries to absorb the cost of complying with the state’s annual sales tax information return requirements. Exempting farm cideries from such a requirement will not undermine the effectiveness of the third-party reporting requirements because purchases from farm cideries are expected to account for a very small percentage of overall purchases. Moreover, like any alcoholic beverage licensee, farm cideries will be required to maintain sales records pursuant to the requirements imposed by the State Liquor Authority.

“The Governor’s Wine, Beer and Spirits Summit held earlier this year identified an increased interest in the production of hard cider in New York State. New York has already established licenses for farm producers of wine, spirits and beer, but not for cider. This new law, modeled on similar provisions we’ve enacted for farm wineries, distilleries and breweries, will provide small craft cider makers with additional opportunities to highlight and market their products. The farm winery, farm distillery and farm brewery licensing programs have been an integral part of promoting these developing industries in New York,” Schimminger concluded.

Schimminger’s bill, A.8047, was sponsored in the Senate by Senator David Valesky.

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Contact: Ken Berlinski  (716) 873-2540 / Vanessa Komarnicki (518) 455-4767

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