The recent creation of the New York Craft Distillers Guild is evidence of that. An even dozen licensed craft distillers and the interest of the New York Farm Bureau created enough of a critical mass for such a group, whose first meeting was organized by the Hudson Valley Agri-Business Development Corporation.
“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.”
Changes in the state’s Alcohol Beverage Control Law have made it possible in recent years for small distillers to develop and flourish. With 12 licensed craft distillers, New York now has the highest concentration of distilleries of any state east of the Mississippi, according to the Guild. The distilleries are:
• Castle Spirits (Monroe)Some of the distilleries are part of winemaking operations while others are standalone businesses. As a group, they produce spirits ranging from fruit brandies to vodka, rum and bourbon.
• Delaware Phoenix Distillery (Walton)
• Finger Lakes Distilling (Burdett)
• 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)
• Warwick Valley Winery and Distillery (Warwick)
The number of distillers in New York is expected to double over the next five years, creating significant economic value for the state.
Ralph Erenzo, owner of Tuthilltown Spirits, notes "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."
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