Our short local nightmare is over. After a lawsuit forced local breweries to start paying a tax of 12 cents per gallon of beer (and an additional 14 cents per gallon to bring it into NYC) legislators in Albany have not only gone and fixed it with a tax credit—they've actually given breweries some nice perks for their trouble. Craft beer at farmers' markets, anyone?
In addition to giving tax credits to help the breweries keep their cash, the new measures will allow craft brewers to use state-grown products as if they were wineries. That means being allowed to sell limited amounts of their hooch from retail outlets and farmers' markets. Further,
Farmer wineries would also be allowed to sell New York beers. In addition, farm-based breweries will be able to open restaurants, conference centers, inns, bed-and-breakfast lodgings or hotels on or next to their brewing operations, where beer-making equipment, souvenirs and other items could be sold.
And before you worry about the State's precious budget, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos says the agreement on the tax break for brewers—expected to be voted on and passed by the end of the Legislature's regular session—won't hurt New York's coffers. "It will be a wash," he told reporters. After all, brewing in New York is a fast growing industry with thousands of workers.
So understandably, the New York Brewers Association was ecstatic about the news, putting out a release praising "Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers" who "clearly recognized the contribution the craft brewing industry is making to revive the state's economy, create jobs and demonstrate that New York is indeed 'Open for Business.'" Us? We're just happy the price of good beer won't necessarily be going up faster than need be. But the idea of a craft brewery B&B is also sounding pretty good...