New York Governor Creates Craft Brewer Workgroup

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced yesterday the formation of the New York Craft Brewer Workgroup, a collection of brewers and industry representatives assembled to expand the state’s burgeoning craft beer sector.

The group, according to a statement issued by the governor’s office, will work to improve upon the communication “between all segments of the craft brew industry and state government.”

According to Brooklyn Brewery co-founder Steve Hindy, who is also a member of the new coalition, the group will assess potential changes to state regulations like labeling or state taxation.

“It’s not a flash in the pan,” Hindy said of the group’s formation. “It’s a real commitment and a real recognition that these businesses are important to the state.”

It’s not as though the industry has been struggling in the state without the workgroup, however. The state’s craft beer industry employed more than 20,000 people and generated an economic impact of $2.1 billion in 2012, according to the Brewers Association.

Nevertheless, Gov. Cuomo cited the industry’s “tremendous growth” as a reason for the group’s existence, adding it will “keep the momentum going.”

“By bringing together leaders from industry, academia and the public sector, we can make sure that the Empire State becomes an even better place to brew and promote world-class beverages,” Cuomo said in a news release. “That’s what I’ve charged this Workgroup with doing, and I am confident that they will play a large role in continuing to cultivate a vibrant environment for the craft beer industry.”

State Liquor Authority chairman Dennis Rosen echoed the governor’s words, adding the workgroup will strengthen the working relationship between the state’s brewers and the state itself.

“This workgroup will enhance this partnership, as we work together to further expand opportunities for our farm-based entrepreneurs to continue generating jobs and environmentally friendly economic development in communities across the state,” he said.

In addition to Hindy, other members of the group include:

  • Gary C. Bergstrom, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology at Cornell University
  • Jimmy Carbone, Host, Beer Sessions Radio
  • Larry Fisher, President, Northeast Hop Alliance
  • David Katleski, Founder of Empire Brewing Company and President of the NYS Brewers Association
  • Paul Leone, Executive Director, NYS Brewers Association
  • Natalie Mattrazzo, Co-Owner, The FarmHouse Brewery
  • Steven Miller, Cornell Hop Specialist
  • June Russell, Manager of Farm Inspections & Strategic Development at Greenmarket, GrowNYC
  • Gregg Stacy, Vice President, Director of Marketing & Sales at Brown’s Brewing Company
  • Bill Verbeten, Regional Extension Agronomist, Cornell Cooperative Extension
  • Justin Whipple, Owner of Whipple Brothers Farms

Notably missing from the initial list are representatives from any New York beer wholesalers. When asked, a spokesperson at the governor’s office confirmed that professionals from other areas of the beer industry will be added as the group expands.