New York Governor Andrew Cuomo played a version of Johnny Appleseed on Thursday when he signed the Farm Cideries Bill into law.
The move establishes a new license for farm cideries similar to the licenses already available to farm wineries, breweries and distilleries: i.e., those using at least 50% state-produced ingredients in the manufacture of their beverages. It will take effect in 90 days from the signing.
The signing was timed to coincide with Friday's beginning of CiderWeek NY, a nine-day festival of events throughout the Hudson Valley and New York City aimed at promoting New York’s ciders. It will run through October 27.
"New York’s agricultural products are some of the best in the world, and today we are delivering on our promise to help growing farm cideries succeed in this state,” Cuomo said. “The Farm Cideries bill, coupled with events like CiderWeek NY, promotes the sale of hard cider made from crops right here in New York and add to the tourism experience that is fall in the Empire State. We will continue to use the TasteNY brand to help all of our agricultural entrepreneurs thrive and stay in New York.”
Senator David Valesky, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Economic Development, and Small Business said, “This is a great opportunity to further leverage New York State's extraordinary agricultural assets. New York State apples are high-quality and delicious, and expanding the market through cideries is win for everyone. I commend the Governor for recognizing the potential in this industry and making it a priority.”
Specifically, the Farm Cideries bill authorizes the establishment and licensing of farm cideries for the manufacture and sale of cider made from crops grown in New York State. It excludes licensed farm cideries from the sales tax information return filing requirements.
To obtain a license, the hard cider must be made exclusively from apples grown in New York and no more than 150,000 gallons may be produced annually.
Farm cideries will be allowed to offer tastings of and sell not only cider, but also beer, wine, and spirits made from New York products. In addition, because farm cideries may also sell products such as mustards, sauces, jams, jellies, souvenirs, artwork, crafts and other gift items, these businesses, much like farm wineries, will become destination locations that will promote tourism within their communities. Also, the need for apples in the manufacture of New York State labeled cider would create a sustained demand for products from New York’s farmers.
Dean Norton, President of New York Farm Bureau, said the new cidery license "is a boost for our local orchards and cider makers who are looking to diversify and offer value-added products to consumers. It is an exciting time to be a New York farmer."