The Finger Lakes is leading New York state with the most craft beverage manufacturers. Some distillers, farmers and cider makers credit the growth to the passage of a 2014 law.
The Craft New York Act lowered some taxes, provided grant funding, and eased some regulations. It had strong bipartisan support, in part, because of its benefits to the upstate agricultural economy. The number of new craft businesses has grown significantly in every region of the state.
Joe Myer is President & Master Distiller at Myer Farm Distillers. It’s a family business he runs with his brother, John. They grow and distill their own grains on a farm in Ovid, New York, west of Cayuga Lake. Myer said the change to rules relating to on-site tastings has had a big impact.
“One of the most important things we saw was we’re allowed to serve cocktails to customers… They get to try the spirit in a context in which they normally would consume the product… That’s where I’ve seen a lotta growth.”
The Craft New York Act is also being credited with boosting tourism in the Finger Lakes, as well, as creating new agricultural opportunities.