State approves craft beverage industry reforms – WGRZ-TV

HAMBURG, N.Y. – New York State is once again loosening restrictions on the craft beverage industry. At last week’s 2015 Wine, Beer, Spirits and Cider Summit, the State Liquor Authority approved a series of reforms to make it easier for this growing industry to expand even more.

“It’s a really exciting time to be in the craft beverage business,” says Mike Ditonto

New York State is now home to nearly nine-hundred craft beverage manufacturers including Ten Thousand Vines Winery in the Village of Hamburg.

“The response has been fantastic. It’s a great community and just been fun to be a part of it all,” says Ditonto.

Ditonto got into the winemaking business eight years ago when he decided it was time for a career change, and he’s never looked back.

“I really wanted to do something I was passionate about, and so I’ve been able to apply my manufacturing and production knowledge to the wines that I love,” he says.

When Ditonto took over, Ten Thousand Vines was a small business selling two home winemakers’ products, now it’s a full service winery. Relaxed state regulations have helped him.

And with the latest changes, he’ll be able to get a permit to operate as a “home winemaking” center where customers can receive expert advice and use the winery’s equipment to produce their own wine.

The new rules will also allow craft manufacturers to share branch office space to lower operating costs and they also cut fees for seasonal bars.

“It really has made a difference. From marketing our products within New York State and outside of New York State on a joint basis to access to capital, access to the knowledge base at Cornell, it all makes a difference and makes our lives a little bit easier,” says Ditonto.

These changes are effective immediately. There are twelve of them and they are posted on Governor Cuomo’s website.