Monday, November 9, 2015

Cuomo makes new effort to cut beverage red tape

Governor Andrew Cuomo may have plenty of detractors when it comes to public education, gun control, and many other controversial topics. However, when it comes to smoothing the way for the state's producers of wines, spirits and ciders, he's the golden boy.

The administration's latest move to aid that market segment was announced today, the creation of a working group of industry leaders to recommend revisions to the state's Alcoholic Beverage Control Laws.

The group will review current statutory provisions and explore approaches to clarify and modernize the 80-year-old statute, according to a news release.

"This administration has worked hard to cut red tape and break down bureaucratic barriers in order to help this state’s burgeoning craft wine, beer, spirit and cider producers thrive and create jobs,” Cuomo said. “This working group will help continue these efforts, providing both perspective and first-hand experience on how to bring our laws into the modern era and further aid in the growth of this great New York industry.”

The working group will hold an opening meeting Thursday at the State Liquor Authority's Harlem office, when SLA Chairman Vincent Bradley will begin focusing on reorganizing or replacing the current alcohol beverage control law, including, but not limited to:

• removing outdated and redundant provisions
• modernizing statutory language for clarity
• improving and consolidating various licensing provisions
• clarifying the types of licenses available
• reducing mandatory paperwork
• eliminating unnecessary restrictions imposed on manufacturers

Members of the working group include: Rose Mary Bailly, executive director, New York State Law Revision Commission; Robert Bookman, counsel, New York City Hospitality Alliance; Jean Marie Cho, general counsel at William Grant & Sons; Keven Danow, partner, Danow, McMullan & Panoff ; Lester Eber, vice president, Southern Wine and Spirits; Tom Edwards, president, New York State Liquor Store Association ; Ralph Erenzo, founder and master distiller, Tuthilltown Spirits; Steve Harris, president, New York State Beer Wholesalers Association; Noreen Healey, counsel, Phillips Nizer; Steve Hindy, co-founder, Brooklyn Brewery; Mark Koslowe, managing partner, Buchman Law Firm; Nick Matt, chairman & CEO, F.X. Matt Brewing Company; Michael Rosen, president & CEO, Food Industry Alliance of New York State; Ebenezer Smith, district manager, Community Board 12, Manhattan; Jim Trezise, president, New York Wine & Grape Foundation; Scott Wexler, executive director, Empire State Restaurant & Tavern Association.

The workgroup also will include representatives from the State Department of Agriculture and Markets, Empire State Development Corporation, and the Department of Taxation and Finance.

"While recent business-friendly legislative and regulatory changes have been made, the current organization of the law makes it challenging for regulators, difficult for attorneys, and almost impossible for the average licensee to easily comprehend,” the SLA's Bradley said. "I applaud Governor Cuomo for bringing together some of the best minds in the industry to examine these challenges and develop working solutions to update and modernize the law.”

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