The Remarks Of Speaker Sheldon Silver

Governor's Wine, Beer, Spirits and Cider Summit

Hart Lounge, The Egg, Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY
Tuesday, April 8, 2014

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Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver addressed Governor Andrew Cuomo's Wine, Beer, Spirits and Cider Summit in Albany today. Silver welcomed the vintners, brewers and distillers from across the state and thanked them for their investment in local economies, world renowned products and for doing business in the state for generations. The agriculture industry's importance to the state economy was highlighted by the Speaker as was the Assembly's eagerness to help nurture the industry's continued growth in New York.

Thank you, Governor, for re-convening this important summit.

Governor, you have provided remarkable leadership in our mutual efforts to bolster the many facets of our diverse upstate economy. I doubt that there has ever been a more charismatic and hard-charging advocate for products made in New York State than you have been.

I think I speak for everyone here when I say, we appreciate that.

Ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of my colleagues in the Assembly, I am delighted to welcome our vintners and brewers, our distillers and farmers, and all of the stakeholders in our burgeoning wine, beer, spirits and cider production industry.

I and my Assembly colleagues recognize how incredibly valuable your industry is to our state and local economies; creating jobs and opportunities from the Hudson Valley to the shores of Lake Erie. We deeply appreciate that a number of your members have been doing business in New York State for generations.

Working together, this public/private partnership - which emerged from the original summit - has, in recent years, produced a number of important achievements.

For our part, the Assembly passed legislation last year to create an exemption from the brand label registration fee for distilled spirits produced in small batches and we revised the standards used in approving brand labels for products regulated under the ABC Law.

We helped to improve the marketing of New York State products, by passing legislation to increase the number of outlets and the revenue sources for our state wineries.

With the leadership of Assemblyman Robin Schimminger, the chair of our Committee on Economic Development, Job Creation, Commerce and Industry, we also passed legislation to establish the Farm Cidery License.

In 2012, we provided assistance to small brewing companies and passed the New York Brewed Beer Tax Credit. And with the leadership of Assemblyman Bill Magee, the chair of our Committee on Agriculture - who is here with us this morning, we passed legislation creating the Farm Brewery License.

I cite our record only to make it clear to you that the leaders in the Assembly are willing partners in the effort to expand and enhance our beverage industry.

From agriculture to advertising, production to packaging, transportation to tourism, we want to work with the Governor and with all of you to protect and expand this job-creating supply chain, to maximize the potential inherent in our "Main Street" economy, and to fully ripen this industry.

Agriculture is one of New York State's most powerful competitive advantages, and therefore, a building block for economic development. I believe we have yet to realize its full potential.

Growing up in Lower Manhattan, I never would have imagined what we're already experiencing. I'm told that there are now wineries in all 62 of our counties, including the City Winery in Manhattan. Craft brewers are popping up everywhere.

Because we New Yorkers love to compete, it comes as no surprise that our wines, beers, spirits and ciders are winning competitions and winning over consumers across the country.

This is an exciting time to be a part of this industry and we are eager to work with you to nurture this growth and to help you to make our products the very best in the world. In turn, you can help us make our economy stronger and more prosperous, and the quality of life for our working families better than it has ever been.

We have the leadership. We have the know-how. You are the people who are going to get it done.