Governor Andrew Cuomo
On Oct. 24, 2012, Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York hosted that state’s first-ever Wine, Beer and Spirits Summit. The affair in Albany, the capital, was exactly what it sounded like: a bull session on boosting the booze business. The proposals from the summit were modest—$1 million in promotion, better signage for beer and wine trails, streamlined regulations—but the results were anything but.
Due to these summit initiatives as well as to an excise-tax break restored by Cuomo and other beer-boosting legislation he signed in the summer of 2012, the Empire State’s craft-brewing business took off. The number of craft breweries in the state jumped 133 percent, from 40 to 93, from 2011 to early 2014, and the number of brewpubs spiked similarly, from 10 to 23. At the same time, Cuomo championed a Farm Brewery Bill, which gives breweries incentives to use New York-made ingredients; the number of farm breweries quickly shot from zero to 26. Craft brewers in 2012 contributed $2.2 billion to the economy of the nation’s third-largest state, according to the Brewers Association.
“There’s been more activity on [alcohol laws] under Cuomo than maybe since Prohibition,” said Steve Hindy, co-founder and president of Brooklyn Brewery.
Cuomo, who was elected in 2010, is likely the most active U.S. governor promoting craft beer. At a second summit, in April 2014, he announced further muscular efforts, including sextupling that original promotional budget. Might the rumored 2016 presidential hopeful take such advocacy national? The governor’s office did not respond to requests for comment.
This profile appears in the November 2014 issue of All About Beer Magazine. Click here for a free trial of our next issue.