Monday, January 16th, 2017

Finger Lakes Region Ripe for Cider Production

On Wednesday November 27th, Senator Charles Schumer visited DeFisher Farms recently opened farm distillery to talk about the CIDER act. Due to current language in the Internal Revenue Code, some Hard Cider may be taxed as Wine, which carries a much heftier tax than Cider. Beer for example is currently taxed at 23¢ a gallon. Wine on the other hand is $1.07 per gallon.

Adding to the complication is the carbonation limit.

According to current language, anything containing more than 39% carbonation must be taxed as champagne, a staggering $3.30 a gallon.

It’s easy to understand how this could be too high a variable for many farmers to take the chance on producing a batch that nearly misses any of these limits, thus causing an unforeseen tax bill.

The improved code would raise the limit for Hard Cider to 8.5%, encompassing far more Cider products and letting New York State Cider producers compete on a global level. In addition, the carbonation limits would be removed all together.

The DeFisher family is looking to expand into Cider Production next year, but have asked the Senator to assist them with getting swift approval from the Alcohol Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau as well as passage of this amended code.
In his remarks, Schumer stressed the importance of this new definition for not only the DeFishers, but for farmers across the state.

“Wayne County is the state’s largest apple producing county, so there’s no doubt that it should be at the core of the hard cider industry, which is rapidly growing in popularity across New York,” said Schumer. “However, current federal tax rules make it extremely costly for Rochester and Finger Lakes hard cider producers to make, market and sell this product, which could prevent New York’s hundreds of apple growers and hard cider producers from fully benefiting from the stable income that comes with this new product.”

Schumer toured the Apple County Spirits facility joined by owner David DeFisher, Production Assistant Luke DeFisher and Head Distiller Collin McConville.