Taste NY had a
successful 2013 – what’s next?
The NYS Restaurant Association has spent the past year
supporting Governor Cuomo’s Taste NY initiative by attending his Wine, Beer and
Spirits Summit last November, his Wine Cup Tour in the Finger Lakes in
August, encouraging members to sign his Taste NY pledge and through events like
a recent panel discussion and networking event the NYC Chapter hosted. Click here to read about this
event and discussion of locally sourced products.
But there is more happening to promote New York State as a
leading hub for beer, wine, spirits, cider production and tourism. On November
18, the NYS Restaurant Association joined several New York State farmers,
brewers, distillers, along with agency Commissioners, Executives and Governor’s
staff for the Farm Based Beverage
Council Meeting as a follow up to last year’s NYS Wine, Beer and Distilled
The Council reviewed what has happened on the promotion, regulatory and
statutory fronts in the farm beverage industry and the Governor’s Taste NY initiative to solidify New
York’s position as a leading producer of beer, wine, spirits and cider production
They discussed current business ventures, issues and
opportunities along with current efforts to advance and expand promotion for
local NY food businesses throughout the state in 2013. One important decision
made is that Cider has now been
added to the Wine, Beer, and Distilled
Spirits group. Melissa Autilio Fleischut, President and CEO of the NYS
Restaurant Association stated "there have been many regulatory changes to get
people involved in farm distilleries with the hopes to get people to use more NY
products and to create more jobs in the agriculture and spirits industry and
The Council discussed important events and what they
accomplished this past year, one being the NYS Restaurant Association making a visit to tour the Finger Lakes wine region this past August. The NYC Wine
and Food Festival in October was also an important event to promote and
educate consumers on the great local products New York State has to offer.
Another successful initiative from 2013 is the Pride of NY Pledge which aims to
get NY restaurateurs and chefs to pledge to use 10 percent more NY State products
on their menus: ingredients, spirits, etc. Research shows that consumers want
more local options and it’s a trend that is well received. Over 80 NYS
Restaurant Association members have taken the pledge and everyone on the Council
is encouraged that the restaurant industry is using local products. All pledge participants
will be featured on the Taste NY website going forward.
They also reviewed next steps to further the industry by
reviewing long term plans for 2014 in regards to implementation and support for
the program and local NY businesses through several new efforts: new
advertising campaigns, events, retail store openings, Taste NY destinations, restaurant and liquor store initiatives, the
Beverage Trail initiative, and business climate initiatives including
agricultural law changes.
There are future plans for retail stores in airports -
including Buffalo and Islip in LI, which will sell all New York State products.
The big sellers at these stores are drinkable yogurt and chocolate milk. "The
purpose of the retail stores is to offer consumers at the airports NY products and
to expand our local market to more people and get a sense of what NY is all
about,” stated Fleischut. The council also revealed plans to create a rest stop
on the Taconic Parkway in a historic building also offering NY local products.
The meeting included a lot of discussion around research and
farming – Cornell University is a leader on the research side of things and
is exploring more ways to increase hop, barley and malt production in New York
state and help farmers learn to grow and sell grains more efficiently.
The Annual International Restaurant and Foodservice Show of New York is
partnering with Pride of NY and NY Wine and Grape Foundation with plans to include over 50 booths showcasing
all local New York state products and purveyors. They will be inviting representatives
from NY breweries, cider mills and distilleries to participate at the booths in
the 2014 show.
There have been some favorable agricultural law changes happening
for local producers for increasing growth and sales to the state. In the past,
distilleries could not produce beer and spirits in the same building but they
have now eased restrictions on that going forward. Hops have also been included
in the definition of "agricultural, commodity” and there is a new real property
tax exemption for trellises.
# # #