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Cuomo Holds Second Wine and Beer Summit in Albany

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Summits are usually important gatherings of government officials, often to settle burning issues of the day, but that's not the case in Governor Andrew Cuomo's New York, where he likes to hold summits to promote the state's burgeoning food industry, such as New York's second wine and beer summit in Albany. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.

ALBANY - Booze is turning into big business in New York.

There are now 151 breweries in New York, but whiskey distilleries are popping up all over the state as well, adding hundreds of new jobs.

"We're seeing incredible growth in New York City and in New York State," said Nicole Austin of Kings County Distillery. "Right now, it's about half and half of the 80 licenses that are in New York State. About half of them are in the city, and then about half are upstate, and so they're all over."

Governor Andrew Cuomo holds summits for industries to listen to the needs of the business owners who are hoping to grow their companies. The first alcohol summit was held a year and a half ago, and in 2012, he hosted the state's first yogurt summit.

"It's a challenge for government to adjust, to change, to transition to make sure they are facilitating and they're partnering with the industry, and they're not slowing the industry," Cuomo said.

"We face antiquated laws in relation to distilled spirits in every category," Austin said. "The last time they were written was in the 1930s, when everyone thought that distillers were gangsters."

The goal is to get New York products into the marketplace, including New York City restaurants. The governor announced that the state will spend $6 million promoting New York wine, beer, spirits and hard cider.

"I am still convinced that there is a tremendous market in New York City that we have not really tapped into," Cuomo said.

Cuomo will introduce legislation known as the New York Craft Act, which is designed to grow the industry. Among other incentives, it will lower licensing fees and increase production limits.

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