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Representatives from local distillery, brewery share concerns with Governor at Wine, Beer, and Spirits Summit

By HILARY LANE

ALBANY, N.Y. - On Wednesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo hosted the first-ever Wine, Beer, and Spirits Summit in Albany.

The idea behind the summit was to bring local brewers, distillers, winemakers, and farmers together to grow the markets within the state.

Without a single open seat in the room, industry leaders shared their concerns, suggestions and opinions with state officials.

"We are in business together and we want to grow the business and so, tell me what you need, how we can invest, and what we can bring to the table," said Governor Cuomo.

Dozens of representatives from all over the state were in attendance including some from the Mohawk Valley.

Nick Matt, Chairman and CEO of F.X. Matt Brewery on Varick Street in Utica took advantage of the opportunity to speak directly to the highest official in the state.

"He had asked what we can do in New York to help business and I said 'I wish my state supported my products like other states do,'" Matt said.

Due to competitive bidding processes, Nick Matt said beers from out of state or international beers, instead of Saranac or other local brands, are sold at the largest venues in the state, which hurts local sales.

After hearing these concerns at the summit, the Governor has announced that he will be working aggressively to ensure local products are sold at large venues in the state.

A representative from the Adirondack Distilling Company, a brand new micro-distillery located on Varick Street in Utica opening in just a few weeks, was also at the summit.

"There is a lot of paperwork filed monthly, but for small producers like us," said "It don't change much," said Steve Cox of the Adirondack Distilling Company. "So maybe it could be filed twice a year.

The Governor has already announced he will reduce the amount of paperwork local companies are required to file.

New York State is now number three in the country when it comes to beer, wine, and spirit sales. However, the Governor hopes the suggestions and comments from the summit will catapult the state to number one.

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