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Kennedy bill would aid craft brewers

A new legislative package aims to cut red tape for New York State craft beverage producers.

Sen. Tim Kennedy (D-Buffalo) has authored several bills he said would help local breweries, distilleries and cideries do business in the state.

The legislation seeks to:

• Repeal blue laws prohibiting alcohol sales on Sunday mornings and Christmas Day.

• Repeal a law against pre-mixing big batches of cocktails to be served on tap.

• Give tax breaks to producers of hops, malt and wheat in New York state.

• Allow craft beverage producers to file their excise taxes electronically.

• Create a $50 deposit on kegs and a $25 deposit on taps to encourage bars and restaurants to return them to producers.

• Create a uniform measurement standard for federal and state tax laws to make calculating tax payments easier.

Recent loosening of other state regulations has resulted in explosive growth among the state’s distilleries and breweries. New York State has 370 local craft beverage producers, 200 of which have opened since 2012.