craft beer

Cuomo Proposes Easing Rules To Stimulate Craft Beer Industry

Business Food & Drink Living

Laws Would Make It Legal For Movie Theaters To Sell Alcohol


Recognizing the value of New York’s craft beverage manufacturing industry, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has vowed to reform outdated prohibition-era laws to remove barriers to new investments.

In his 19th proposal of the 2020 State of the State, the Governor introduced a proposal to make it easier for movie theaters to sell alcoholic beverages, expand the geographic scope of where retail outlets can locate, and modernize New York’s Alcoholic Beverage Control law to help higher education institutions train the next generation of the craft beverage workforce.

“New York’s craft beverage industry is flourishing thanks to eight years of targeted investments and forward-thinking policies that are attracting new businesses and supporting our booming tourism industry,” Governor Cuomo said. “This measure will remove outdated Prohibition-era rules that hamper private sector investment, ensure we’re training the next generation of workers in a critical industry, and give more New Yorkers the opportunity to responsibly enjoy a drink at the movies.”

New York ranks in the top five in the U.S. for its number of craft beverage producers in every category. The state ranks first in U.S. for the number of hard cider producers, second in craft distillers, third in breweries, and fourth in the country for the total number of wineries.

Breweries are gaining traction in Rockland County, bringing with it tourism dollars, new industry, collaborations and new jobs. More than a half dozen breweries are a stimulus for economic development. Many restaurants and catering outfits are partnering with local craft beer makers. Two Villians in Nyack recently opened its micro-brewery on Main Street. The open layout enables patrons to see the very cool manufacturing process.

Garnerville Arts District will hold its second annual Live Art & Beer Festival May 16th-17th. The festival promises to be even bigger than last year.

Brewery-driven attractions are popping up countywide including a craft beer making learning/tasting event “Craft Beer With Industrial Arts Brewing Company” on April 23th at RCC’s Hospitality & Culinary Arts Center.

Reforming the Arcane Prohibition-Era Tied House Law

New York’s Tied House Law, an arcane provision of the Alcoholic Beverage Control – or ABC – makes relocating to or opening or investing in a business in New York needlessly difficult.

Prohibition-era Tied House Laws are intended to prevent manufacturers or wholesalers from having undue influence over a retail business that sells beverages directly to consumers. New York’s law, on the books since 1933, prohibits all such retailer and manufacturer/wholesaler relationships, and is even stricter than long-standing federal law, which provides discretion by analyzing the details of the relationship when there is a partial ownership stake, and allows such a relationship when ownership is total.

This stricter law has resulted in a number of business ventures – both manufacturing and retail – being denied licenses and the opportunity to do business due to these out-of-date provisions. While several businesses have obtained special legislation in order to invest in these ventures, this process involves an act of the legislature which is both uncertain and time consuming, resulting in countless lost opportunities as businesses simply find other locations to invest in.

To remove these restrictive barriers to investment, Cuomo is proposing an amendment to New York’s Tied House Law to match the federal approach.

Sale of Alcohol In Movie Theaters

The Governor is also proposing an amendment to the ABC law to allow the sale of beer, wine, cider, mead, and spirits at movie theaters. Current state law only allows movie theaters with full kitchens and tables inside the screening rooms to offer the sale of alcohol to adult customers.  With increased competition and diversification of video content creation and consumption methods, movie theaters faced with competition have been investing in upgrades and advancements to the movie-going experience. While these investments are attracting new audiences, they have increased operating costs with many theaters struggling to pay for these upgrades without additional sources of revenue.

Under the Governor’s proposal, adults holding tickets to movies rated PG-13 or higher would be able to purchase alcoholic beverages, provided only one drink could be sold to a customer at a time. This proposal will provide theater operators with additional revenues, assist in the economic development of downtowns, and provide New York craft producers with additional retail outlets.

Create a post-secondary institution program license to meet growing workforce demand

Also being proposed is the creation of a post-secondary institution license under the ABC Law. Currently, licensing an educational institution for alcoholic beverage manufacturing is complicated. Given that institutions are interested in teaching the production of the various types of alcoholic beverages requiring multiple applications and separate licenses, the law need streamlining.

Additionally, higher education institutions cannot sell craft beverages students produce in a restaurant setting without being granted a special exception by the legislature. These requirements can limit the educational programs and training opportunities for students eager to gain these in-demand skills. The proposal would allow educational institutions to produce any alcoholic beverage under one license and retail products be sold under the same license.