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State Issues Dozens of New Licenses to Help Local Breweries and Wineries

The goal is to help small businesses grow.
The state has issued dozens of new beverage licenses in recent months as the buzz continues to grow about New York wineries and breweries. And with plans to invest millions of dollars more in the industry, lawmakers are looking to change some rules to make it easier for the small businesses to grow.

Many current laws on the books restrict breweries in New York State, and local brewers such as the Empire Brewing Company hope new legislation being proposed will boost business.

"What the state is doing is fine tuning some of the laws that will enable us to continue to grow," explained Dave Katleski, owner of Empire Brewing Company. "It's going to simplify a lot of the paperwork so we can get back to what we enjoy best, which is produce and distribute."

Empire says the brewery business has boomed in the last two decades. When it opened in 1994, there were 6 breweries in the state. Katleski says now there are close to 150 and growing.

The legislature has to approve the changes before they become law and industry leaders are hopeful it will be passed by the summer.

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