Governor Andrew Cuomo hosted a wine, beer and spirits summit in Albany. The goal is to increase production at wineries and craft breweries across New York State. Erin Connolly has more.
ALBANY, N.Y. -- Governor Andrew Cuomo said, "First what are we doing that's not productive and don't be shy. What are we doing that poses a burden?"
Governor Andrew Cuomo opened the floor to those from the wine, beer and spirits industry. On tap at the summit was outlining ways these businesses can work with the state to continue to grow and prosper.
Jim Trezise, the President of the New York State Wine and Grape Foundation, said, "We are all in this together. We are all New Yorkers. We provide New York jobs, we use New York products, we sell to New Yorkers, we pay New York taxes and so forth and so we shouldn't separate ourselves.”
According to the New York State Liquor Authority, in the last two years there has been 17 percent growth in the number of farm wineries, 74 percent for microbreweries, 83 percent for cideries and 211 percent for farm distilleries.
Governor Cuomo said, "This all has happened during the time when I was the Governor of the state of New York. Is there a connection between my Governorship and people drinking more?"
And while people applauded the Governor's efforts since taking office, they say more work needs to be done to create jobs, support farmers and bring in tourism dollars. Industry leaders say regulatory burdens need to be reduced. They say they also need assistance with marketing and promotion techniques to streamline the process and get local products in our local restaurants.
Nick Matt, the President of Matt Brewery, said, "You can't pour it down their throats and at some point people make their own choice, but to make it available is really important.”
A spirited discussion and proof summits like this one can brew some strong ideas and create change.
Governor Cuomo said, "We have an anti business reputation, a reputation as a high tax and high regulation state, a difficult state to do business and that has taken a toll and we're trying to reverse all of that.”
And the Governor says this is just the beginning of a dialogue. While all the problems won't be solved in one meeting, he says they're off to a great start.