Hot dog and vodka please

I am a huge advocate for the underdog. When I go to state or county fairs or farmers’ markets and I see samplings of beer and wine available, I really start to feel sorry for liquor, which has been prohibited from giving tastings at these events – until now. Governor Cuomo has recently signed legislation permitting liquor to be sold and sampled at New York State and County Fairs and famers’ markets. No matter your political views or affiliation – if any – I say job well done.

While wineries and breweries are part of the lucky few who have been able to promote their products and sell beer or wine by the glass at these events, as of January 2013, licensed farm distilleries are now a part of that fortunate group.  This means that farm distilleries can now promote their products to a new group of potential customers and markets.

In addition to having an SLA permit, farm distilleries are required to have a distillery representative on site at each event to make sure that the sale of the liquor as well as the tastings are conducted responsibly.

Governor Cuomo stated that “[b]y easing restrictions on farm distilleries and permitting tastings and sales outside of their premises, we are giving these distilleries an equal chance to compete in the industry and a better opportunity to reach new customers and grow their businesses. This in turn will offer a needed boost to the state and local economies, while allowing New Yorkers and visitors to enjoy products of the Empire State.”

Not only does this new legislation allow farm distilleries to market their goods to a broader audience the way wineries and brewers have been able to do, it also allows the residents of New York better access to a broader range of local alcohol they may not have had the privilege to experience in the past. In a time when “shopping local” seems to be all the rage, farm distilleries can now partake in the locavore trend.

To find out more about this new rule, visit