Ralph at Tuthilltown Posted March 8, 2012 Share Posted March 8, 2012 Newly licensed distillers and those launching new product in New York take heart. At the request of Tuthilltown Spirits, State Senator Bonacic has introduced a bill which would amend NYS Alcohol Beverage Control law and permit holders of DD or Farm Distillery licenses to offer samples and sell NY branded spirits direct to consumers at Farmers' Markets, State and County Fairs. This direct access to consumers where they live is a fabulous opportunity to test new products or gain a consumer foothold when developing a brand. You can help. Holders of New York DD licenses should contact their State legislators and strongly urge them to get on board and support S-06426, the text of which is available at: http://assembly.stat...ummary=Y&Text=Y Get on the phone, write a "letter" (remember "letters", on paper, mailed and landing on someone's desk?) to your Legislators today. Additionally, in a meeting with three of the senior Executives at the State Liquor Authority, the question arose what we would do if we found our distillery successful and pushing up against the upper production limit of our two licenses (we hold both A-1 (limit 35,000 gallons per year production) and DD (permitting 35,000 gallons of production a year)), our total cumulative permitted production limit is 70,000 gallons per year. We responded that we'd apply for the larger production scale license which has no upper production limit. But the Chief Counsel of the SLA suggested it would be a more effective route to simply get the limits raised, noting also that the next tier license class did not permit a tasting room or sampling and sales to consumers at the distillery, which has become a strong part of our revenue stream. (I told him the Fed is considering HR 777, which bill calls for a two tiered system with the first 65,000 pg taxed at a lower rate than all production above that first 65K proof gallons.) He indicated he thought it would be reasonable to request the State amend the limit for the small distillers and raise it to that of the standard being considered by the Fed and accepted by ADI membership nationally. We have inquired at Senator Bonacic's office the possibility that this suggestion of an increased maximum production allowance be added to S-06426 so both changes carry through the process at once. By the way, that conversation came during a visit to our distillery, at our invitation of the three top officials at the State Liquor Authority to our distillery. The Commissioner, Dennis Rosen had invited me to visit in Albany to discuss needs of the small distillers in New York, to which I countered that he and his associates would should come visit our distillery and see how a small distiller operates and learn first hand what our needs and concerns are. Mr. Rosen readily accepted the invitation and a positive exchange of ideas and concerns followed in our tasting room. We consider it a strong step in the right direction, which we made certain they understood. We expressed our happy surprise at the free and open nature of the discussion and their willingness to listen and participate; we are of the firm opinion that no regulating body can function effectively when no one in the regulated industry trusts the regulating agency. They agreed and expressed their desire under the Cuomo Administration to help relieve some of the impediments and make it easier to be in business. They acknowledged the arcane and complex nature of the cobbled together liquor law, and that they are addressing a revision that would eliminate a great deal of the useless components and redundancies. We commented that one major improvement would be the leveling of the playing field in law, as among breweries, wineries and distilleries; it's all alcohol after all and the producers have more in common than not. The SLA team agreed. We're grateful for their time and the effort to come visit from Albany. I relate the details of the meeting here to make the point; times change, administrations change. An intransigent liquor authority or bad alcohol law are not permanent fixtures. You can influence and effect change, but you must act. Be smart and reasonable, be persistent but patient. The wheels of government grind on slowly, but they do grind on, stay with it. Don't focus your legislators' attention on alcohol; keep them attentive to the other benefits of a strong micro distilling industry: agriculture, jobs creation, tax revenue, tourism development, rural economic development, history. Ralph Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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