I like the way the announced changes to the tax regime for craft brewers in New York states have been structured:
The newly signed law...so exempts all breweries that produce brands of 1,500 barrels or less annually from the $150 annual brand fee. This exemption is available to brewers both in and out-of-state, a marked difference from its predecessor. In addition, the new law created a farm brewery license that will allow craft brewers that use products grown in New York state to operate as a farm brewery, mirroring the farm wineries in the state. This designation will allow the breweries to sell New York state-labeled beer, wine and liquor at their retail outlets, open restaurants on the brewery property, conduct tastings of all state-labeled beer, wine and liquor at their premises and sell beer making equipment and supplies and souvenirs.
Clearly, there is an effort to focus on growing small operations and treating them like the good job generators they are. The changes were created in response to a court ruling that held that the former structure was unconstitutional because it penalized businesses from out of state. That law suit related to the annual brand fee and was brought by Shelton Brothers, the beer importers. But everything I am reading indicates that the new law may benefit small out of state brewers equally with those in state - but only the brewers. Are beer importers still left out of the exemption? If they have been left out, one can only assume it is intentional but properly so as the goal of the whole scheme is to support local production and local jobs and to leverage them to spin off more jobs as a result in tourism and supply. But if importers benefit as well, their job creating power would be recognized as well. It would be good to get a clarification.