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Local Brewers Toast After Gov. Cuomo Reinstates Craft Brewery Tax Break

Senator Daniel Squadron, New York State Brewers Association and Bierkraft all say that this tax credit will help support small breweries throughout New York City and State.

It’s time to fill your pint with a locally-brewed beer from New York, lift up your glass and say, “Cheers!”

This week, Governor Cuomo has signed legislation to reinstate a beer production tax credit for New York's small brewers — a good thing for Brooklyn Brewery, Kelso and others in Kings County, and approximately 90 other breweries in Long Island and all throughout New York.

Senator Daniel Squadron, who joined U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, State Senator Lee Zeldin, Assemblyman Joe Lentol, and local brewers (including Brooklyn Brewery) to announce a bipartisan plan to reinstate the credit and protect New York's small brewers in May, was happy about the Governor’s legislation.

"From the good jobs they create to the great beer they produce, New York's brewers are key to New York's economy. By reinstating the beer production credit, we're serving New York's brewers, consumers, and economy alike: allowing our small businesses to keep growing, while keeping their brews affordable,” Senator Daniel Squadron said in a release. "That's more jobs and better options at the tap — something we should all toast to!” 

The legislation will help local brewers bounce back from , which found a pair of tax exemptions for local craft breweries to be unconstitutional. The ruling was the result of a complaint brought by Shelton Brothers, a beer importer based in Belchertown, Mass, who claimed the lower prices New Yorkers paid compared to out-of-staters was unfair, and the court sided with them.

This ruling, effective immediately, heralded thousands of dollars more in yearly costs for breweries and mandated that all New York beer makers must pay 14 more cents for every gallon of suds they sell in the state, and 12 more cents for every gallon sold in the city.

For fans of locally-crafted ales, lagers and other beer styles it can mean up to another dollar or so per pint.

But, with the new tax credit legislation package, local brewers are going to save money on production costs.

New York State Brewers Association President David Katleski said that Cuomo did a good thing for the craft brew business in the state.

"This legislation will help ensure that the state’s thriving craft beer industry can continue to deliver jobs, revenue and pride for New York. The new production tax credit and brand label fee registration relief will help lower the barrier to entry for small brewers hoping to open and expand in the state,” Katleski said in a statement. “Governor Cuomo and state legislative leaders deserve a lot of credit for recognizing the contribution craft brewers make to the state’s economy and creating an environment for us to grow and flourish. Today, we toast their commitment.”

And in Park Slope, , Ben Granger, the co-owner of , noted that this tax credit will help his micro-brewing operations.  

“I am happy New York brewers are getting a little bit of a break, considering we are producing beer in New York,” Granger said, who will be brewing in his shop soon. “I am glad people are now able to make more beer in NY, they are offering an incentive to locally make beer here. That incentive is nice, it should be made here.”

Granger has applied for a brewer’s license so he can brew beer Bierkraft. Granger’s brewery will be small and fit in the front of the store — only yielding about 100 barrels of beer a year. But, he said he will benefit from this tax credit.

“For us, it will help relieve operating costs in the future, having that tax credit will help our brewing system be more financially efficient,” Granger said, explaining that they will produce less in one year than Sierra Nevada will make in one batch. “We are not producing 100 barrels a batch, but one barrel at a time. We don’t have volume discounts on grain or hops because we are too small, every little bit will help us.”

Eric McClure July 18, 2012 at 10:03 PM
I'm a frequent critic of the Governor, but this is a good thing.
Sara July 19, 2012 at 04:00 PM
I like that the governor is making moves to promote and protect small businesses

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