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ALBANY, N.Y. -- As craft beer grows in popularity one New York legislator has launched a campaign to push the state's offerings.
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer kicked off his "I Love NY Brew" campaign yesterday in a bid to get locally brewed beer in area convenience stores, restaurants and bars. The move is an effort to grow the industry and allow breweries across the state to expand their businesses.
In a letter to the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) and the New York State Restaurant Association, Schumer urged both groups to stock their shelves with beer brewed at the 77 microbreweries, regional craft breweries and brewpubs in New York. He added that pushing locally brewed beer onto convenience store shelves and into restaurants in major cities like New York City would be a major step forward for an industry that adds millions of dollars to the state's economy annually.
In his letter to the associations, Schumer pointed out that "craft beer is the pricing leader in the beer category with the highest average price and profit margin per case, and offers the widest variety of styles in the beer category."
In New York, the beer industry directly supports approximately 60,000 jobs in brewing, distribution and sales. According to the Beer Institute, these jobs paid nearly $4.6 billion in wages last year, and accounted for more than $13.2 billion in economic activity during 2010. New York breweries paid $1.13 billion in federal taxes, and $1.14 billion in state and local taxes last year.
"Craft breweries have catapulted New York to the top shelf of beer states, and our beers are more than ready for prime time. Whether you are searching for a six-pack at your local 7-Eleven or grabbing Buffalo wings with a beer after work, you should have a wide assortment of locally brewed beers to choose from," Schumer said in announcing the campaign. "I'm strongly urging New York restaurants, bars and convenience stores alike across the state to take a close look at New York's beers, and consider putting them on their shelves or on their menu. It would be a win-win, both for those selling the beer, and for the breweries making it."
In a meeting with New York brewers from earlier this month, the brewers told Schumer that local convenience stores and restaurants -- particularly those in New York City -- represent the largest untapped markets for Upstate and Long Island beer, according to a release from Schumer's office. Several breweries that have tapped into these markets told Schumer that they had quickly become an integral part of their business. Genesee Brewing in Rochester has become incredibly popular in Brooklyn, helping to drive up sales and overall revenue.
"The growth of the craft brewing industry in New York State is tremendous," said David Katleski, president of NYS Brewers Association. "Continued growth will greatly contribute to the number of jobs, tax dollars, and economic benefit to [New York State]. Of all the beer sold in [the state], N.Y. craft beer currently represents a 7.5-percent market share. One can only imagine the economic impact to our state if craft beer sales here reflected that of craft beer sales in Oregon, where they're 30 percent."
Several Sunoco APlus convenience stores in Upstate New York have already tapped into the craft market. Sunoco launched the Craft Beer Exchange at 12 locations in the Buffalo area this summer. Las month, the program was expanded to eight more locations last in the Rochester and Buffalo markets, as CSNews Online previously reported.