New York State Brewery Petition: Brewery Manufacturer Exemption from Potential Shutdown of Restaurant & Bar Industry.
The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
We are the 434 breweries of New York State. Our industry is a $5.4 billion economic driver employing over 20,000 New Yorkers. With the science-based reopening of New York, our industries have been thrilled to welcome our New York customers back into our breweries in every corner of the State.
We write to you today regarding the alarming rise in COVID-19 cases throughout the country and to address the actions of the few bad actors in the New York hospitality industry. We want to make it clear that our industry is separate from the many bars and restaurants that continue to host large gatherings and violate the rules and regulations set by the state to control the spread of COVID-19. Hundreds of such institutions have been cited by the State Liquor Authority for violating New York’s rules and regulations regarding COVID-19. Only a handful of breweries have been cited during that same period, the majority for minor infractions.
Furthermore, the New York alcohol manufacturing sector is distinguishable from a typical bar or restaurant setting. Our taprooms and tasting rooms are small, controlled spaces. People sit at their tables, when walk-up service is offered, customers must wear face coverings and stand at least six feet away from any other person. We are family oriented. Customers visit us with their children and dogs. They sit together at tables comprised of their own family members and do not mingle with other customers.
Although our industry is continuing to do everything right, we are still enduring intense economic suffering. Demand for draft beer has been slashed, leaving breweries with product they cannot sell and are forced to discard. The temporary privileges the State has granted to help our industries—shipping, delivery, and curbside pickup— have been a lifeline of support. We need to remain open and serving our customers in order to continue to keep our employees on staff and re-hire more staff. We hope to remain open by following the rules as they were originally established.
In addition, our industry has been considered essential from the beginning of the pandemic. We are well-versed in the COVID-19 safety protocols. We have invested incalculable amounts of time and money into adapting to the changing safety standards throughout the pandemic. Further, as manufacturers, we are incentivized to keep all our spaces clean and safe to allow us to continue our manufacturing operations.
As a result, we are separate from restaurants and bars. We embody New York’s manufacturing and team spirit. As such, the brewing industry of New York is prepared to take the following pledge:
Our industry supports the rules that have been clearly communicated to license holders and the punishment of those bad actors that are committing egregious violations should have their liquor licenses suspended. This will help prevent our law-abiding members from being shut down and keep our communities safe.
Therefore, we, the 434 breweries of New York State, formally request that should another shut down be considered for the restaurant and bar industry, that breweries be considered separate from these businesses and remain open. Our industry has and will continue to maintain controlled environments. We are doing what is right and standing up for what is responsible. Punishing us for the irresponsible actions of a handful of bad actors in certain cities throughout the State is not the New York way.