Mead Manufacturers Positioned To Benefit Under NY State Licensing

Traditional honey-wine, more commonly known as mead, is fast becoming a popular drink of choice among many New Yorkers. The ancient beverage has a growing following as well as a small but dedicated contingent of manufacturers in the north-eastern state. Governor Andrew Cuomo has recently proposed an allowance for mead producers to take advantage of an NY state “farm beverage license”. The provision allows these beverage manufacturers to enjoy the same benefits afforded to wineries, breweries, and distilleries, which have experienced a significant economic boom because of their commitment to using New York-sourced ingredients.

A picture of several carboys filled with mead.

Traditional honey-wine, more commonly known as mead, is fast becoming a popular drink of choice among many New Yorkers.

As a result, Mead producers will be allowed to erect restaurants and gift shops, provide tastings, by-the-glass sales onsite, and other retail endeavors. Craft alcohol has enjoyed a significant surge in economic prosperity following legislation passed this year that provided significant cuts for the nation’s small-scale alcoholic beverage manufacturers. The tax breaks will remain in effect over the next two years and provide up-and-coming breweries, wineries, and distilleries with some much-needed cash flow to support their operations. New York alone has a reported 435 wineries, 400 breweries, 150 distilleries, and 65 hard cider makers. Currently, there are about 12 mead-makers in the state that commands a top-5 spot in each beverage category. NY ranks first in the nation among hard cider makers. The escalation in manufacturing operations is directly attributed to the farm licenses provided by the state. These certifications emerged in 1976 with the farm winery license, with the farm distillery license and farm brewery license emerging in 2007 and 2012, respectively.

The farm meadery license will, as the name suggests, apply to standalone makers of the honey-based beverage that ranges between 10 and 12 percent abv. Like wine, the process of mead-making involves the incorporation of produce, such as fruits, herbs, flowers, and spices to enhance flavors. A similar brew, known as braggot, could fall under the same category, though its recipe’s inclusion of honey and barley malt brings it closer to a beer-style beverage with a 5 to 6 percent alcohol content. Meaderies would also gain the benefit of open sale in wine stores, liquor stores, and grocery stores.

So, What do Mead And New York Have In Common?

Honey. As the North East’s top producer of the sweet and sticky substance, NY is positioned to be a significant hub for mead-making activity. Beyond honey production, NY is among the top three states in the US producing apples and grapes.

A closeup of honeycomb.

Honey Is The Essential Ingredient When It Comes To Fermenting Mead.

As it stands, the new license would only apply to mead manufacturers producing less than 250,000 gallons per year and come at a cost of $75 per year. To put that number into perspective, a commercial wine license is priced at $3,025 per year. The benefits are significant and many hope the incentives will motivate mead manufacturers to ramp up production and new meaderies to put down roots in the state.

With costs low and the landscape ripe for expansion beverage manufactures, New York is a prime location to set up shop or branch out for existing operations. The state’s economic impact from breweries alone totaled more than $3.5bn in 2017. Grants exist for commercial beverage makers as well, with $250,000 allotted to each segment for use in advertising and targeted marketing campaigns. New York State has compiled significant resources for these manufacturers, including tax-based incentives, operational support, growth support, and innovation development support funds.

How ERP Benefits Beverage Manufacturers

As business scales for many of the state’s beverage manufacturers, effective platforms to keep operations running smoothly are essential. Platforms that address quality control, recipe-based formulation, distribution, human capital management, finance, and analytics among a host of other tasks associated with running a small to medium-sized beverage manufacturing operation. Many ERP platforms have adapted to create complete solutions built specifically for wineries, breweries, and distilleries. Saving time and money, ERP software allows manufacturers to focus far more on the front end than on the repetitive and mundane tasks associated with the back office.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions, Inc. is an ERP consulting firm that offers professional services in business consulting, project management, and software implementation. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems or addressing the emerging challenges in corporate and operational growth, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. As experts in identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.