Earlier this month, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer launched an initiative to promote beer grown in New York State. The campaign titled, “I Love NY Brew” is co-sponsored by the New York State Brewers Association and is designed to get more restaurants, bars, convenience stores and supermarkets to sell more beer brewed in New York State. The senator wrote a personal letter to the National Association of Convenience Stores and Fuel Retailing, as well as the New York State Restaurant Association, urging both to sell more local beers.
After touring several breweries earlier this year, Schumer is looking to the local beer industry to pump some money into the state’s struggling economy. On his tour, Schumer noted that brewery owners tend to put increased revenue back into their business through either expansion or hiring new employees.
“According to the Beer Institute, the 60,000 brewing-related (brewing, distribution, and sales) jobs in New York paid $4.6 billion in wages last year and accounted for more than $13.2 billion in economic activity during 2010. New York breweries paid $1.13 billion in federal taxes and $1.14 billion in state and local taxes last year.”
You can find Schumer's letter as well as the accompanying press release here: http://schumer.senate.gov/Newsroom/record.cfm?id=335126
While the "I Love NY Brew Campaign" may not have much of an impact on the craft beer industry in New York, (it has no state funding, making it basically a PR move by Schumer), it brings up an interesting idea. The craft beer market is one of the fastest rising markets in the country and that is particularly true in New York. According to Schumer, there are 77 microbreweries, regional craft breweries and brewpubs across New York. This is an increase of 32 from seven years ago, with plans to build another 39 breweries throughout the state.
In addition to an increasing number of breweries, we have seen an increase in the number of beer stores and beer bars popping up all over the state. The next big trend seems to be grocery and convenience stores stocking their shelves with more local beer. As Schumer spoke with brewers on his tour, they pointed out that this is the biggest untapped market for them.
Yesterday, we told you about Sunoco's Craft Beer Exchange Program. In 2012, it will be interesting to watch the beer shelves and coolers in local grocery and convenience stores to see if more New York produced craft beer starts to appear. If so, it can only mean good things for our local breweries.