Support Builds for Direct-to-Consumer Shipment of NY Craft Beverages

NY Farm Bureau joins NYS Distillers Guild to warn of struggling industry

Albany, NY – Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo and Senator James Skoufis were joined by the NYS Distillers Guild and the New York Farm Bureau in support of the Craft Beverage Manufacturer’s- Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) Shipment bill (A3132 Lupardo / S2852 Skoufis). In prioritizing the legislation, the Farm Bureau emphasized the importance of NY’s farm beverage industry to the state’s agricultural sector due to the amount of fruit, grain and potatoes they purchase.

NY distilleries have been struggling to stay open, with 20 closing their doors in the last several years. In a survey last month conducted by the Distillers Guild, 50% of Guild member respondents said they were unsure if they would remain open by the end of 2025 if regulatory and economic conditions remained the same. In the same survey, most distillers said direct-to-consumer shipping was the most important action New York State could take to improve their business.

The goal of the legislation is to bring parity to New York’s distilleries and cideries by allowing them to directly ship products to consumers, as the wine industry has been able to do for years. During the pandemic, distilleries and cideries were allowed to ship directly, which kept many in business. The experience during COVID proved that allowing manufacturers to directly ship to consumers did not cause undue hardship to other entities in the alcohol supply chain because of their small market share.

Further, the legislation addresses an unfair advantage on the part of retailers who CAN ship to consumers; retailers who themselves warn about the dangers of direct shipping. In fact, some retailers, through e-commerce platforms directly ship NY craft beverages to consumers or use car delivery services. Sadly, craft manufacturers see little or no profit from these sales.

“In 2007, I strongly supported the creation of the farm distillery license which launched NY’s popular distilled spirits industry with over 200 distilleries opening statewide,” said Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo. “Unfortunately, some have already closed and many others are at risk. We did not work this hard to start an industry only to see it falter because of outdated and unfair practices; practices that are also impacting NY farmers, tourism, and economic development. I call upon my colleagues to re-examine the rules we have been operating under that are preventing these small businesses from thriving.”

Senator James Skoufis said “It's 2024, not 1924, and it's high time our laws regulating the purchase and distribution of alcohol entered the 21st century. While our state’s duopoly of liquor distributors are benefiting from this system, enacting direct to consumer shipments would provide a desperately needed lifeline to our small distilleries and cideries. This option has safely existed for wine for many years and there is no reason not to extend its consumer convenience to the rest of alcohol manufacturers.”

Teresa Casey, Executive Director of the NYS Distillers Guild, said, “It is critical that the Legislature act now to authorize manufacturer direct-to-consumer shipping for distilleries and cideries to help save an important industry; one that sits at the nexus of tourism, agriculture, and small business manufacturing. Forward-looking legislators like Chairwoman Lupardo helped create the Farm Distilling license that made this industry possible post-Prohibition. Let’s not let that public policy vision and the ingenuity, investment, and labor of our craft distillers go to waste because some parties are afraid of the change that will simply allow our small businesses to put their products into the hands of consumers who want them.”

“New York’s craft beverages are increasingly popular, but producers face a major hurdle to growing their small businesses. They cannot ship craft spirits or cider directly to the customers. Direct shipment will expand market opportunities for these farm-based businesses and provide parity with wine makers across the state. New York Farm Bureau thanks Sen. Skoufis and Assembly Agriculture Committee Chair Donna Lupardo for sponsoring legislation that would allow direct to consumer shipping and for their ongoing support of New York agriculture,” said Kyle Wallach, New York Farm Bureau Associate Director of Public Policy.