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Cortland/Ithaca

New laws benefit craft brewers

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: New laws benefit craft brewers
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With the new year upon us new laws are going into effect. Tamara Lindstrom tells us why local breweries have even more reason to celebrate.

CORTLAND, N.Y. — Two years after Cortland Beer Company brewed its first barrel, the business is off to a steady start.

"We've already expanded quite a bit," said co-owner Dan Cleary. "We've put in some new tanks, we've moved our retail room from the brewery to over here. And we've had a great response from the Cortland community, too. Everybody supports us well. Bars and restaurants have supported us well. Things are going good."

And 2013 looks like it will be even better for small local breweries, with a host of new laws making it easier and cheaper for them to do what they do best.

"Especially with the new laws they put in place. Some of the new taxes they took away, things like that. So we should be able to grow pretty aggressively," Cleary said.

Cleary plans to double production in the next year, going from about 700 barrels to 1200-1500 in 2013. Making that possible, he says, are state initiatives that benefit craft brewers; like allowing them to sell beer at farmer's markets, stopping a tax increase, and changing licensing fees.

"You can now have a brewery and a distillery or a cidery all on one premise instead of having to pay for an additional license," Cleary said.

Starting January 1, small brewers can now easily end partnerships with distributors that aren't working.

"Usually, you would sign a contract and you were married for life," Cleary said. "So the distributors weren't performing, you can get out of the contract much easier than you could before."

Changes that make the rising costs of doing business bearable.

"We have a big industry, and it's growing. And it's good to see," Cleary set. "Obviously we need the jobs, we need the tax dollars, and we need to stay in New York."

A plan brewers, and patrons, can raise a glass to.

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