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NEW YORK DISTILLERS GUILD


Ralph at Tuthilltown

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Organizing Meeting was held at TUTHILLTOWN SPIRITS FARM DISTILLERY of New York distillers with the goal of the meeting: formation of a New York Distillers Guild. New York distillers may contact me for summary and list of attendees.

It was a positive meeting. 19 attendees representing 11 licensed NY DSPs. All agreed to the need to organize for promotional and for legislative reasons. Membership was agreed generally to be two tiered: Full Member (DSP permit holders only, one vote per DSP member), and Associate Members (non-voting, industry and interested non DSP permit holders). A second meeting is scheduled for one month from now, no date fixed yet.

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Update on bill to permit sampling and sales at State and County Fairs, and at Farmers' Markets. The bill is through ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, passed; and is now before CODES COMMITTEE, which is reported to be the "toughest committee". Please read the bill below and contact the Chair of the CODES Committee, here is the link to the Committee web page listing the Chair and Members: http://assembly.stat.../?sec=mem&id=33

Here is the link to the text of the bill, please read, note the sections in ALL CAPS are the actual changes to the existing law. http://open.nysenate...bill/A9863-2011

This bill makes the ability to attend and do sampling and consumer sales of your products at Farmers' Markets, State and County Fairs an actual part of the license. This is your DIRECT ACCESS to consumers. Contact your legislator and the RULES committee members and let them know how important this is to Farm Distilleries attempting to introduce new products into the market.

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Received letter from SHELDON SILVER, Speaker of the House, New York State Assembly today bringing me up to date on Assembly Bill 9863. He reports:

"You will be pleased to know that Assembly Bill 9863 passed the Assembly on June 18th, 2012. The Senate3 also passed this measure, and they will send it to the Governor for his signature into law. "

Okay then.......!

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  • 2 weeks later...

We've enlisted the FARM BUREAU in our effort to revise appropriate sections of the NYS ABC law. Julie Suarez at FB has suggested that from a lobbying and amendment perspective it will be necessary to address inequities in NYS ABC law which prevent FARM DISTILLERIES from a variety of activities and from enjoying many of the considerations which are enjoyed by other classes of beverage alcohol produers in New York State such as Farm Wineries and the newly proposed Farm Brewery license holders.

I've compiled a list of some of the changes which would help the lot of Farm Distillers and listed them below. If you know of any other inconsistencies among the various producers (winemakers, brewers and distillers) that need to be corrected please post your comments. At the next meeting of the new NEW YORK DISTILLERS GUILD in Albany next week, we will have both the Chairman of the STATE LIQUOR AUTHORITY, Dennis Rosen, and the Chief Counsel of the SLA Tom Donohue on hand to meet the members and engage in a discussion about your concerns. This subject will undoubtedly come up.

Difficult to pore over ABC law, but if you have some down time and can review the various applicable legal issues that face us and you can articulate the concern and suggest a remedy here it will help us to consolidate our points and express them directly to Executives at the SLA, and get their responses and suggestions on how to implement changes.

Here's my list:

Reduction of brand registration and label registration fee, and elimination of annual fee and registration process replaced with a single registration and fee for A-1 and DD permit holders; match winery and brewery brand/label registration fee/schedule

Amend all volume record references for distilled spirits to “PROOF GALLONS” for production reporting and tax purposes, eliminating use of simple undefined term “gallons” from distillery license regulations, to match the Federal standard volume measurement

Distribution of samples to retailers by distillers should be permitted. This is permitted for wine makers, so no reason it cannot be permitted for distillers introducing new products or seeking new clients.

Addition of DD license holders to list of vendors/producers which may sell to Farm Wineries and Farm Breweries for resale to consumers, of NYS branded Farm spirits. Revision of ABC law to level the playing field, making “permissions” equal across all three producer classes: wineries, breweries and distilleries.

Holders of a “WINERY” permit should also have opportunity to sell NY STATE labeled spirits and offer tastings as prescribed in ABC law at WINERY tasting rooms and sales shops.

List of sources from which a FARM WINERY may purchase spirits for resale must include the holders of the DD FARM DISTILLERY permit (see the following).

76.4.b (6) New York state labelled wine or liquors produced or manufactured by any other New York state winery or farm winery licensee or by the holder of a class A-1, B-1, or C distiller's license. Such wine or liquors may be purchased outright by the licensee from a New York winery or farm winery licensee or the holder of a class A-1, B-1, or C distiller's license or obtained on a consignment basis pursuant to a written agreement between the selling and purchasing licensee.

“DD” license must be added to listing of manufacturers who may sell to Farm Winery for resale of NY State branded spirits.

R

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  • 2 months later...

MEETING ANNOUNCEMENT

NEW YORK CRAFT DISTILLERS GUILD

The next meeting of the NEW YORK CRAFT DISTILLERS GUILD will be hosted by our friends at CATSKILL DISTILLING COMPANY, Monte Sachs host.

The last meeting allowed attendees to clarify many of the questions which come from our sometimes frustrating efforts to understand ABC law and how it applies to the craft distiller. From that meeting came an invite from Paul Karamol, Senior Attorney at the SLA for me to sit in on a meeting with his regulators and interns for a discussion about which supplementary accommodations might be considered to help craft distillers be in compliance and the State to understand the nature of our operations.

First question was “How do we define a “small batch” distiller?” The answer of course, as I commented, depends upon who you are asking, a Bardstown distillery or one of our small NY craft distillers. Other issues included the annual label/brand registration requirement and annual fee and the amount, which are inappropriately higher than the requirements for wine or beer.

Much of the discussion revolved around the way to “level the playing field” for all classes of producers. It was also noted that there is a proposal being drafted matching the discussion among the Guild members on the topic of the unnecessarily high number of spirits production licenses. The observation that a single “Distiller” license and a single “Farm Distiller” license should be all that is required and fees for these permits should be tied to volume produced, with no cap on production.

It appears the SLA is aggressively addressing issues pertaining to the craft distillery movement in NY. Some of you may expect to hear from the SLA Chief Counsel with some questions about your operation and experience with the SLA in preparation for a meeting scheduled for review by the SLA Board. Please respond to any of the questions which you feel do not intrude on your proprietary matters.

NEXT MEETING: October 5th, Friday

TIME: 11AM

Catskill Distilling

2037 State Route 17b, Bethel, NY 12720

(845) 583-3141

Proposed Agenda:

  1. Introductions and welcome
  2. Federal and State legal update
  3. Legislative actions
  4. New York Grain Depot and Malting Facility
  5. Farm Bureau
  6. Safety Standards

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ralph,

I know you have a lot going on right now, but I just wanted everyone to know the hard work has paid off and I'm sure we will all benefit from it. Good luck with the rebuild.

Governor Cuomo Signs Bill to Expand Opportunities for Farm Distilleries to Sell Liquor at State Fair, County Fairs and Farmers' Markets

http://www.governor.ny.gov/press/10022012-liquoratfairs

John

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  • 6 months later...

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