Fueling Growth of New York Craft Beverages: Introducing the Craft Beverage Micro Grant Program

June 9th, 2023 • by Jackson LaSarso
Jackson LaSarso

Jackson LaSarso

With experience in government affairs and the public sector, Jackson brings a breadth of understanding to planning projects. As a student at the University of Pennsylvania studying public-private development, he brings a unique insight to the planning, design, and financing principles necessary to meet the diverse needs of municipalities, the marketplace, and the community. His areas of expertise include land use code review, municipal finance, comprehensive planning, grant writing, and community engagement.

New York State’s craft beverage industry is on the cusp of a transformative expansion, thanks to the visionary introduction of the Craft Beverage Micro Grant Program by the Empire State Development (ESD). With a formidable funding pool of up to $5 million, this program presents a golden opportunity for small businesses in the craft beverage sector to amplify their production capacity, revolutionize their business infrastructure, and soar towards increased profitability. By offering a matching grant scheme for equipment purchases and facility upgrades, this grant program aims to galvanize the growth and foster the economic development of the craft beverage industry across the state.

Eligibility and Funding Overview

To be eligible for the Craft Beverage Micro Grant Program, craft beverage manufacturers in New York State must hold one or more of the following licenses issued by the New York State Liquor Authority: DW 301 Winery, FW 302 Farm Winery, MW 307 Micro Farm Winery, D 101 Brewer, MI 101 Micro Brewery, FD 106 Farm Brewery, MR 210 Restaurant Brewer, DA 201 Distiller Class A, DA 206 Distiller Class A-1, DB 202 Distiller Class B, DB 205 Distiller Class B-1, DC 204 Distiller Class C, DD 207 Farm Distiller Class D, CD 304 Cider Producer, CF 309 Farm Cidery, MD 312 Mead Producer, or FY 313 Farm Meadery.

The grant program offers funding ranging from a minimum award of $25,000 to a maximum award of $50,000. It’s important to note that businesses with the same ownership and/or multiple locations are eligible for only one Craft Beverage Micro Grant every three years.

The program follows a 50/50 matching grant model, ensuring that the funding is provided in direct proportion to the applicant’s investment. For instance, if a business invests $100,000, it stands to receive up to $50,000 as a matching grant from ESD. Moreover, applicants are expected to contribute ten percent of the total project cost in the form of equity.

Project Eligibility and Application Process

The Craft Beverage Micro Grant Program supports a wide array of eligible projects, including new equipment purchases, infrastructure and facilities expansion or upgrades, and clear expansion plans for existing equipment and facilities. These projects must be implemented at licensed locations where production takes place. To initiate the application process, brewers are required to submit a Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) during the designated open application period. Note: 2023 deadline is 4:00 PM on July 28, 2023.

The application should encompass a comprehensive project plan that delineates the project’s objectives, anticipated benefits, and a detailed timeline. It must specify the type of equipment and upgrades to be procured, accompanied by an exhaustive budget that indicates the funding already secured and the remaining amount needed.

Selection Criteria

The evaluation of applications for the Craft Beverage Micro Grant Program is contingent upon a rigorous assessment of several criteria by the Regional Economic Development Council (REDC), each contributing to the determination of grant recipients. The Program examines the project’s alignment with regional economic development strategies and its potential impact on the craft beverage industry, as well as its capacity to yield agritourism benefits. Consideration is also given to job creation prospects and the level of support garnered from local government and private sector leaders. The Program takes into account the project’s readiness and likelihood of completion, in addition to the financial viability of the applicant. Furthermore, the leverage of resources, estimated return on investment, and adherence to sustainability and smart growth principles are integral factors in the evaluation process. Craft beverage businesses are urged to meticulously align their projects with the Program’s goals, emphasizing the creation and retention of jobs, alongside the benefits conferred upon the statewide craft beverage industry and agritourism sector.


The unveiling of the Craft Beverage Micro Grant Program by the Empire State Development ushers in an era of immense possibilities for craft beverage manufacturers in New York State. By facilitating matching funds for equipment purchases and facility upgrades, this program seeks to fortify the craft beverage industry and drive overall economic growth within the state. Small businesses operating within the craft beverage sector must seize this pivotal opportunity to fortify their operations and actively contribute to the flourishing industry in the dynamic landscape of New York.

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