Bill to revive area hop production becomes law

New York State Assemblyman Bill Magee recently announced legislation he authored, hoping to help area farmers and businesses prosper and create jobs by allowing farms to grow, brew and sell locally made beer became law.

“The agriculture and beer industries in New York state are already major job creating engines, contributing more than $4.7 and $1.2 billion to our economy each year,” Magee said. “Under this law, our farmers and brewers will have more diversification to expand their businesses and market their products.”

Magee’s bill will allow farm breweries to sell their product for consumption off the premises, at state fairs, county fairs and farmers markets. In addition, this measure will allow farm brewery licensees to manufacture, bottle and sell food products and condiments, as well as store and sell other items, such as non-alcoholic beverages, food items, beer supplies and accessories, beer-making equipment and souvenirs.

This measure paves the way for Empire Brewing Company, a local Syracuse restaurant that brews its own beer, to move ahead with plans to build a stand-alone brewery on Route 13 in Cazenovia.

“Assemblyman Magee clearly recognizes the contribution the craft brewing industry is making to revive the state’s economy by creating jobs and allowing a clear path for farm brewery agritourism,” said David Katleski, owner of Empire Brewing Company, president of the New York State Brewers Association and Cazenovia resident.

In order to qualify for the farm brewery license, farms must manufacture, store and sell New York State-labeled beer and/or cider, and have an annual production capacity of 60,000 barrels or less.

“This legislation gives incentives which will allow brewers and farmers to work together to revitalize the once thriving hop industry throughout the state, particularly in Madison County — once the hop growing capital of the world,” Katleski said. “The new farm brewery license will also encourage farmers to grow the much-needed barley used in the brewing process. The overall deal announced by the Governor and supported by Assemblyman Magee, gives us the help we need to continue adding jobs and keeping prices down for our loyal customers while strengthening our bond with area farmers.”

To be considered New York State-labeled beer or cider, the products must be made from New York State-grown ingredients or apples, respectively, a requirement that will further boost farm sales, Assemblyman Magee said.

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