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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo marked the fifth anniversary Thursday of the Farm Cidery Law, which created a new craft beverage license for hard cider produced with apples grown exclusively in New York. The Governor's Farm Cidery Law was a direct result of a commitment made to hard cider manufacturers attending the state's first ever Wine, Beer and Spirits Summit to create a license similar to those available to farm wineries, breweries and distilleries. As a result of this legislation, New York now ranks first in the nation for the number of hard cider producers.

"The farm cideries law created new opportunities for local apple growers and entrepreneurs across New York, and helped make the Empire State a national leader in the industry," Cuomo said. "The tremendous success of our cideries has not only provided new revenues for local farmers who are producing fresh, high-quality apples for cider producers, it has also supported our booming tourism industry."

Prior to the Farm Cidery Law, hard cider could only be produced by farm wineries or through a cider producer license, which does not require the use of New York apples. Cider producers also lacked expanded privileges, including providing tastings and sales of other farm-based products by the bottle or glass, and the opportunity to open restaurants, gift shops and branch stores, which have helped New York's farm cideries become tourist destinations.

In celebration of the third anniversary of the Farm Cidery Law, Cuomo announced the number of farm cideries had tripled from 8 in 2014 to 24 in 2016. Since then, 17 new farm cidery licenses have been issued, bringing the statewide total to 41. Nearly every region of New York is now home to a farm cidery. A list of farm cideries currently operating in New York State is available here.

The increased demand for hard cider in the state gives apple producers another avenue for maximizing the value of their harvest, as fruit that is too small or blemished to be sold at stores or farmer's markets can be sold to cider makers. Continuation of this trend will lead to increased demand for apples, additional job creation, protection of the environment and tourism dollars for local communities, as well as providing a significant revenue source for producers through the production of high value-added products like hard cider and apple spirits.

In 2016, to further encourage collaboration and create new markets for all New York farm beverage producers, Cuomo signed legislation allowing farm cideries, wineries and breweries to sell any farm-produced craft beverage at their manufacturing facility or branch store. Under prior law, farm manufacturers were limited to selling only products by the glass that they produced. This change led to a proliferation of no-fee branch offices or 'tasting rooms' across the state, which grew from 35 in 2012 to 154 today, including 10 farm cidery branch stores listed here.

"Over 1,100 craft beverage manufacturers, including 41 farm cideries, are now operating across the state thanks to our nation-leading efforts to boost the industry," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who toured Nine Pin Cider Works in Albany on Wednesday, the first to receive a license as part of the Farm Cidery Law. "The new craft beverage license established five years ago has helped to grow and support producers, creating jobs and strengthening the agricultural industry of New York State."

New York State's apple industry ranks second in the nation in apple production. The State's more than 700 producers grow more apple varieties than any other State, providing the basis for the innovation behind New York's cideries. As the number of cideries in the state continues to increase, the demand for New York apples continues to grow. The New York Apple Association reports the apple industry in the Empire State provides approximately 10,000 direct agricultural jobs in New York and thousands of indirect jobs through fruit handling, distribution, marketing, and exports.

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