On Thursday, Gov. Cuomo, Senator Skelos and Speaker Silver announced an agreement on legislation to support New York’s craft beer and wine industries.

The legislation comes in the wake of a March court decision which found that tax exemptions given to in-state brewers were not permitted because they were not also provided to out-of-state brewers.  As a result, New York’s small brewers would have been required to pay 14 cents in state tax per gallon in addition to 12 cents per gallon tax for beer sold in New York City.

The agreed-to legislation eliminates that tax for any brewery that produces 60 million gallons or less of beer in New York, and also exempts small brewers from the state’s $150 annual brand label fee.

The deal also enables farm breweries to open restaurants and expand their operations, and exempts farm wineries, distilleries and breweries from some tax filing requirements.

Even if you do not enjoy craft beer as much as I do, you will agree that this measure is a step in the right direction.  We are pleased that Albany has recognized that the burdens the state imposes on small businesses are too onerous.  We only hope that the next steps Albany takes to provide tax and regulatory relief will not be limited to small breweries and wineries.