Despite Federal Government Shutdown, New York Breweries May Continue to Obtain Label Approvals for Beer Sold within the State
The New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) reminds New York State beer manufacturers that despite the federal government shutdown, brand labels for beer manufactured and distributed within the state are still being processed and approved. While federal law requires any beer packaged and sold for interstate commerce to obtain brand label approval from the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), New York brewers selling beer exclusively within the state’s borders may do so without the federal approval.
SLA Chairman Vincent Bradley said, “New York is home to some of the most innovative brewers in the country, and with our brewers continually developing and releasing new products to meet consumer demand, our state will do everything it can to ensure the continued government shutdown in Washington does not stifle their creativity.”
Before beer is packaged and sold in in New York, breweries must first receive a brand label registration approval from the SLA. While breweries typically submit labels to the federal TTB for a Certificate of Label Approval (COLA) prior to applying with SLA, a federal COLA is not required if beer is manufactured and sold solely in New York.
New York brewers may submit applications for beer label approvals to the SLA. The SLA’s two-page application mirrors the federal requirements, requiring the brand name, contents and type of beverage. The processing times for new applications is approximately two to three weeks. Applications can be downloaded here: https://sla.ny.gov/brand-label-registration
New York State Brewers Association Executive Director Paul Leone said, “We have been extremely fortunate in New York State to have a State Liquor Authority that is both reactive and proactive when there is a potential issue in our industry. Brewers in our state are making world class beer and along with the growth of the number of breweries opening, the volume of beer they are producing is extremely important when it comes to consumer demand. We very much appreciate their extra efforts to make sure the beer keeps flowing during this federal government shutdown.”
The number of craft breweries has skyrocketed in New York since Governor Cuomo hosted the state's first Wine, Beer and Spirits Summit in 2012, growing from 97 in 2012 to 415 today. This includes 45 restaurant breweries, 148 farm breweries, 149 microbreweries, and 73 breweries that hold both farm and micro brewing licenses, with beer now being manufactured in 58 of the state's 62 counties.
Additionally, recognizing that consumer demand was encouraging brewers to continually introduce new beers into the market, Governor Cuomo signed legislation in 2012 providing a fee exemption for brand labels registrations for manufacturers producing small batch beers. Under these new provisions, breweries producing brands of 1,500 barrels or less annually are now exempt from the SLA’s $150 per label fee. The number of approved no-fee beer labels has increased dramatically in recent years, rising by nearly fifty percent in the last year, from 4,637 separate labels in 2017 to 6,864 in 2018, saving breweries $1,026,600 in the last year alone.