Many states enforce outdated, flat-out bogus laws around breweries. Some of said laws were put in place for reasons that no longer apply in modern society, and some just never made sense in the first place. A prime case of this antiquated, ass-backwards phenomenon is — or was — the lovely State of New York.
In 1976, New York passed the Farm Winery Act, permitting grape growers to establish wineries and sell their products directly to customers. The state’s wine industry exploded. Fast-forward 30-plus years, and the legislative gears would slowly start turning in favor of the beer industry, taking a cue from the New York wine boom a few decades prior. After all, before Prohibition, a large portion of the United States’ hop cultivation took place in the Empire State. The climate was right, and New York was poised for an agricultural — and beer-centric — renaissance.
In 2012, the state of New York had just 95 breweries — dramatically fewer than its population would suggest. Within five years, that number had doubled, and the Empire State was well on its way to becoming the craft beverage hotbed it is today. Today on “Taplines,” we’re joined by Chris O’Leary, founder and editor of the venerable Brew York blog — and longtime observer of the state’s political brewing landscape — to discuss one since-disgraced governor’s successful gambit to boost artisanal booze production with an assist from Albany. Tune in for more.