New York Farm Alcohol Beverage Manufacturer Licenses

Must Farm-Licensed enterprises be located on a farm? If so, what is considered a farm?

Farm Breweries and Farm Distilleries do not need to be located on a farm. Farm Wineries, however, must be located on a farm.

A farm is defined as “the land, buildings and equipment used to produce, prepare and market crops, livestock and livestock products as a commercial enterprise.

A farm may consist of one or more parcels of owned or rented land, which parcels may be contiguous or noncontiguous to each other.” Also see ABC Law §3 Definitions


 What are branch offices and what activities are permitted there?

Farm Wineries and Farm Breweries are allowed to operate up to 5 branch offices. Permitted branch offices are allowed to perform any activity that is allowed at the Farm Licensed premise.


What is the new Sales Tax Filing Exemption? And to what businesses does it pertain?

Farm Wineries, Farm Breweries, and Farm Distilleries are all exempt from filing monthly M-12 sales tax paperwork (see here and here). This exemption does not, however, exempt Farm Licensees from filing their annual and quarterly MT-40 paperwork.  You may make a request to Department of Tax and Finance to only file at MT-40 annually, see here.


When do I need to obtain an Article 20 C Food Processing License and how do I obtain it?

With the exception of farm licensees that are producing and selling alcohol only, all licensees must obtain an Article 20 C Food Processing license.


To be licensed under Article 20 C, an establishment must be of sound construction with tight fitting doors and windows. The building must have hot and cold plumbed water. There must be a 3 bay sink available in the establishment for washing all food contact surfaces; a hand wash sink must be convenient to all food workers. Floors, walls, and ceiling must be made of easily cleanable materials.


How is compliance with New York State label standards enforced?

Manufactures that wish to produce a New York State labeled beverage must provide the list of ingredients to the State Liquor Authority (SLA).


What are the regulations for a farm licensee that wishes to transport its own product?

A licensee does not need a trucking permit if he/she is transporting the product in a vehicle that is owned/leased and operated by the licensee. All that is required is that a copy of the license be kept in the vehicle.


If the car is owned/leased and operated by the solicitor, a copy of the solicitor’s permit will suffice.

Unlicensed entities that are in the shipping business need a trucking permit to deliver alcoholic beverages.


What is the process for getting a tax exemption on wine used in tastings?

There is no form to fill out to be eligible for the exemption. Because the use is exempt, the tax does not need to be reported as a taxable use. However, the Department of Tax and Finance recommends that the winery keep documentation of the wine used at these event(s).

Specifically, the exemption covers:

Wine or wine product furnished by the official agent of a farm winery, winery, wholesaler, or importer at a wine tasting held in accordance with section eighty of the alcoholic beverage control law to a customer or prospective customer who consumes such wine at such wine tasting.

The exemption is also described in this TSB-M from 1997 here.

Also see Advisory #2012-7.


Are manufacturers of wine, beer, and cider eligible to sell their products at state and county fairs, and farmers’ markets?

Yes, amendments to section ninety seven of the alcoholic beverage control law allow certain brewers, beer wholesalers and concessionaires at the State Fair (including licensed manufacturers) to obtain a special events permits to sell “by the glass.” But, a special events permit does not allow for the sale of liquor by the glass. On July 18, 2012, Governor Cuomo signed legislation that will allow small wine manufacturers, both in-state and out-of-state, to obtain these permits to assist in the promotion of their products.

For more information, see State Liquor Authority Advisory #2012-9.

Also see Advisory #2012-7.

What are farm distilleries permitted to do at state and county fairs, and farmers’ markets?

On October 3, 2012, Governor Cuomo signed legislation that will allow licensed farm distilleries to hold liquor tastings and sell their New York State labeled products off premise at the State Fair, recognized county fairs, and local not-for-profit farmers’ markets. Providing farm distilleries with the same access to potential customers and markets as other wineries and breweries will help local farms to expand and flourish in New York. Farm distilleries will be required to have a State Liquor Authority permit, as well as have a distillery representative on site to ensure that tastings and sales are conducted responsibly.


Is it possible to obtain multiple manufacturing licenses for the same location?

On October 24, 2012, the Governor directed State Liquor Authority (SLA) to end the prohibition against multiple manufacturing licenses at the same location. SLA will now allow the same manufacturer to have multiple licenses at the same location, or multiple manufacturers to have licenses at the same location.

For more information, see State Liquor Authority Advisory #2012-10.