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New brewery tax credit may help LI's beer business

A pint of beer is poured at the

A pint of beer is poured at the Captain Lawrence Brewing Co. in Elmsford, New York. (May 3, 2012) Credit: Getty Images

Long Island breweries could benefit from a piece of legislation that Gov.  Andrew M. Cuomo signed into law Wednesday.

The new policy allows smaller breweries in New York State to apply for a tax credit, depending on how much beer they produce. Breweries that produce less than 60 million gallons of beer in New York are eligible.

The credit is worth 14 cents for the first 500,000 gallons of beer the business produces, and 4.5 cents for every gallon after.

Don Sullivan, owner of Southampton Publick House -- which has been brewing on Long Island since 1996 -- said the the tax break will help his brewery continue to growth. Southampton Publick House produces about 10,000 to 12,000 barrels of beer a year and falls within eligibility for the credit.

A former tax exemption that existed for craft breweries in New York State was struck down in court earlier this year, which burdened the small operations with more costs. But the tax credit that Cuomo signed into law will be able to effectively remove the added charges.

"An additional tax. . . would’ve priced our product to no longer be competitive. That’s where it would’ve really hurt," Sullivan said of the old tax, adding that he was happy New York legislators worked quickly to help the growing industry in the state.

The law also exempts breweries that produce less than 1,500 barrels of beer from paying the $150 state liquor fee and creates a new Farm Brewery license to encourage breweries to use more locally grown produce in exchange for more freedom to grow their business.