New York Craft Distillers Guild Formed
SPIRITS MAKERS FORM NEW YORK CRAFT DISTILLERS GUILD
New York craft distillers met at the offices of the NEW YORK FARM BUREAU on April 21st to organize and launch the NEW YORK CRAFT DISTILLERS GUILD. The first Guild meeting was organized by the Hudson Valley Agri-Business Development Corporation. The location of the meeting at the offices of the NY FARM BUREAU is no accident. “We want to make the firm statement that spirits production in New York is an agricultural undertaking,” says Todd Erling, Executive Director of HVADC, “distillers use agricultural products, and craft distilleries have the potential to create new markets for New York grown fruits and grain while also creating a new tax source for the State.”
New York has a long tradition of spirits production, dating back to colonial times. Prohibition killed off the distilled spirits industry in New York and it only recently returned. Changes in the State’s Alcohol Beverage Control Law have made it possible in recent years for small distillers to develop and flourish. With twelve licensed craft distillers, New York now has the highest concentration of distilleries of any state east of the Mississippi. The twelve distilleries are: Castle Spirits (Monroe), Delaware Phoenix Distillery (Walton), Finger Lakes Distilling (Elmira), Harvest Spirits (Valatie), Hidden Marsh Distillery (Seneca Falls), Knapp Vineyards (Romulus), Lake Placid Spirits (Lake Placid), Long Island Spirits (Baiting Hollow), Spirits by Battistella (Ithaca), Swedish Hill Winery (Romulus), Tuthilltown Spirits (Gardiner), and Warwick Valley Winery and Distillery (Warwick). These distilleries produce a wide range of high quality hand-crafted spirits, ranging from fruit brandies to vodka to rum to bourbon.
The number of distillers in New York is expected to double over the next five years, creating significant economic value for the state. According to Ralph Erenzo, owner of Tuthilltown Spirits in Gardiner, “A small distillery operating at the limit of production allowed by their license can generate up to $1 million in annual Excise and Sales Taxes to the State; not including the multiplier effect.” In addition, craft distilleries hire locally, buy local raw materials, and draw tourism dollars to New York. The newly-formed New York Craft Distillers Guild will focus on advocating for regulations that are responsive to the needs of craft distilleries and on branding and promoting New York-made spirits.