A New Bill Might Give Small-Batch Boozemakers a Boost; Here’s How to Support It

New laws paved the way for this local liquor. Help support those that will do the same for new businesses.

If you don’t read our Facebook page then you didn’t yet get the call to arms from Ralph Erenzo at Tuthilltown Spirits. He’s asked us for help getting folks to consider supporting a bill he and other American distillers helped draft that will give Federal tax breaks to small spirits producers, much like the ones, he says, that are now given to small American craft brewers and wine makers.

“If this Bill passes,” he wrote to us in an emailed plea, “small producers will pay a fraction of what they are paying now, leaving more cash in pocket to buy local raw materials, hire new staff, and grow their distilleries into strong and viable local businesses.”

The idea that legislation can have great affect on the liquor landcape isn’t lost on us. In fact, as we wrote in a 2009 profile of Tuthilltown, a 2002 law encouraging spirit makers to set up small micro-distilling operations using locally farmed products was what enabled them to make a start. That same law is what also helped three small distilleries launch in Brooklyn last year. (Edible Brooklyn profiled the three businesses this past summer in their first-ever Alcohol Issue.) Also last year we wrote about what might happen to local bottle shops and their owners if that long-debated law finally passed to allow New York State supermarkets to sell wine.

You can read more about the distillery tax cut bill — it’s called H.R. 777, and was sponsored by Rep. Maurice Hinchey, of New York State’s 22nd congressional district — right here. You can also “support” the bill or leave a comment right here. Or if you’re really into supporting small batch booze, suggests Erenzo, consider contacting your own representatives. You can find those right here.

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Rachel Wharton is the former deputy editor of Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan. She won a 2010 James Beard food journalism award, holds a master’s degree in Food Studies from New York University, and has more than 15 years of experience as a writer, editor and reporter. A North Carolina native and a former features food reporter for the New York Daily News, she edited the Edible Brooklyn cookbook and was the co-author of both Handheld Pies and DiPalo's Guide to the Essential Foods of Italy. Her work also appears in publications such as The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Saveur.