New York Small Brewers Association Engaged in Success

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Solid growth and a long list of accomplishments highlighted the recent meeting of the New York State Brewers Association (NYSBA) at the annual Tap NY event at Hunter Mountain, NY. NYSBA Executive Director Paul Leone chronicled an impressive 2015, which saw revenue from events grow 91 percent and membership 80 percent.

But that was just the appetizer, as 2015 also saw six major initiatives either accomplished or starting strongly out of the gate: a draft beer quality program launched, with 11 certifications in the Albany area to date; the launch of an enthusiast member program; the hiring of a part-time employee focusing on membership; two NYSBA revenue-producing events sold out; almost $200,000 in grants secured, including one for a public television series “Brewed in New York”; and direct participation on two New York State Liquor Authority working groups aimed at streamlining state alcohol laws.

Moving on to 2016, Paul outlined several on-going projects, including updates to the association website with the goal to make it the one-stop source for all things New York beer and improving the New York State Beer Trail map which already gets 45-50,000 visits per month. Further current year goals include initiating a fourth NYSBA event, growing member programs, building new corporate partner/sponsorship opportunities, expanding merchandising (including e-commerce) and developing an NYSBA app.

On the legislative front, the association is focusing on two tax-related issues—a tax credit for New York City brewers who are currently liable for an additional 12 cents/gallon tax by virtue of being located in the city and legislation that would allow a sales tax exemption on beer used in tastings (mirroring a provision currently in place for wine tastings). Additionally, legislation allowing farm breweries to also serve wine and spirits on-premise and a before noon Sunday sales bill round out the docket.

The meeting also featured a representative from the New York Farm Bureau who discussed the organization’s role in advocating for the agricultural community and previewed new state wastewater regulations. NYSBA members also heard from a representative of Empire State Development, New York’s chief economic development agency, concerning Global NY which offers interest free loans for machinery and equipment associated with export trade, as well as grants to develop export plans.

Working from a strong foundation, 2016 looks to be well on its way as another successful year for the NYSBA and its members. Active in many arenas and on many levels, the NYSBA continues to innovate and lead under the guidance of Executive Director Paul Leone, President David Katleski (Empire Brewing Co.) and a fully engaged Board of Directors.