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Long Island has 44 breweries to NYC’s 42, state figures show

Michael Bank, head brewer at Oyster Bay Brewing

Michael Bank, head brewer at Oyster Bay Brewing Co., seen on Aug. 30, 2016. Credit: Heather Walsh

Long Island is home to 44 breweries, edging out New York City by two, according to an announcement from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office.

The state has a record 400 breweries, beating out the previous high of 393 set in 1876, Cuomo’s office said.

According to state figures, the Hudson Valley region had the most beer-making operations in the state, with 63 breweries.

State officials said the governor’s 2013 farm brewery law — which allows craft brewers who use New York-grown ingredients to conduct on-site tastings, open restaurants, distribute products and open up to “five no-fee off-site branch stores” — contributed to the growth of the craft beer industry.

“Once one of the largest producers of beer in the country, New York continues to lower the costs of business by modernizing laws and rolling back red tape to restore the Empire State as the standing leader in the craft beer manufacturing industry,” Cuomo said in a statement.

Paul Leone, executive director of the New York State Brewers Association, a Rochester-based industry trade and lobbying group, said the recent growth in craft beer has been rapid.

“Last year we averaged one brewery opening every six days,” Leone said. Growth has been driven by millennial demand and aided by efforts like the state’s farm brewery incentives.

While the increased number of craft breweries presents competition for beer makers, the nearly $4 billion industry statewide has helped the agriculture businesses that support it, he said: “It’s brought back the hops industry and the barley industry.”

Leone said his group anticipates the number of breweries will reach “easily over 500” before growth begins to slow.

“As long as the quality of beer stays high, the number of beers will continue to stay high.”

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