Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced 24 New York State distilleries will participate in the Manhattan Cocktail Classic's Opening Night Gala on Friday, May 17.
This year will be the first time the state's distilleries have been featured at the Manhattan Cocktail Classic and comes months after the Governor promised at the state's Wine, Beer and Spirits Summit to work to ensure that alcoholic beverage produced here in New York state-produced beverages are sold at major events.
Included in the 24 New York State producers is Dutch's Spirits of Mayville.
"The new New York State is all about jobs, jobs, jobs, and creating an environment for businesses to succeed and grow," Governor Cuomo said. "Our new entrepreneurial government has focused on partnering with the private sector to find ways to reduce burdens and support growth in sectors such as our state's vibrant wine, beer and spirits industry. At the Wine, Beer and Spirits Summit we heard how our small local distilleries and brewers had to compete on an unfair playing field with big name brands. We pledged that the state would step up to the plate and help bring these world-class products to world class venues, and with two dozen local distilleries participating in this year's Manhattan Cocktail Classic, we are delivering on that promise and showing that our efforts are paying off."
At the Manhattan Cocktail Classic, two dozen spirits producers from across New York State will pour their handcrafted beverages at the prestigious black-tie cocktail event attracting more than 3,000 cocktail enthusiasts annually. The distilleries' representatives will showcase their products, and the spirits will be prepared for the attendees by some of the city's top bartenders.
Today's announcement delivers on a key promise made at the Wine, Beer and Spirits Summit convened in October 2012 and attended by dozens of beer, wine, cider and spirits producers, as well as farmers, industry officials and tourism experts, who discussed with state officials specific legislative and regulatory issues facing the beer and wine industry and explored new ways for the state work as a partner to further solidify New York's position as a leading hub of beer, wine and spirits production and tourism. At the summit, the Governor announced new measures to help bring state-produced alcoholic beverages to major events, such as the Manhattan Cocktail Classic.
"We raise our glasses to Governor Cuomo for supporting the state's craft distillers," Founder and Executive Director of the Manhattan Cocktail Classic Lesley Townsend Duval said. "It is an honor to have Market New York debut at the festival's flagship event at the Library. It's particularly personal and especially meaningful since we are ourselves a small New York business. This past year was really rough for so many businesses in New York State, especially those affected by Hurricane Sandy. Supporting local enterprise is top of mind for all of us right now, and as such we're ecstatic to have the opportunity to celebrate locally-produced spirits in an unprecedented way. Truly, here's to them."
The announcement also follows new initiatives announced in Governor Cuomo's 2013 State of the State Address and enacted in the 2013-14 State Budget to help improve the marketing of New York State-produced products. The budget included a total of $7 million for the Market New York to support a multi-faceted regional marketing plan promoting regional tourism and New York-produced goods and products.
Since taking office, Governor Cuomo has worked to develop the state's beverage industry which is a major driver of job creation and economic development in communities across the state. In July 2012, the Governor signed legislation designed to support New York's breweries and wineries, as well as increase demand for locally grown farm products, and expand industry-related economic development and tourism. The new laws preserved an important tax benefit for small breweries producing beer in New York, exempted breweries producing small batches of beer, regardless of location, from paying an annual State Liquor Authority fee, and created a Farm Brewery license allowing craft brewers to expand their operations through opening restaurants or selling new products.