New York Craft Distillers Organize --- In Hopes of Surviving

Craft distillers in New York state have organized a Craft Distillers Guild. Frankly, they have to do something, because that state's legislators are hell-bent on preventing them from doing business. Ralph Erenzo of Tuthilltown Spirits passed along the press released quoted below. I've mentioned him here before because of Tuthilltown's struggles to build a business within the confines of the nearly lunatic alcohol regulations in New York state.

Albany, New York 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 agriculture-based distillers to develop and flourish. There are currently thirteen licensed craft distillers in New York and that number is expected to double over the next five years. 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." Nationally, small distilleries are now producing a wide range of high quality hand-crafted spirits of almost every type, from bourbon, to brandies, rum, gin, and vodka. Craft distilleries offer significant economic value to the state. They 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.

For more information on craft distillers, who, in my opinion, are creating truly astounding spirits, see the American Distilling Institute's homepage. And big tip o' the snifter to Ralph for fighting the good fight, and for keeping me posted on it.