New York State Distillers Guild

New York State Distillers Guild

The craft distillery scene in New York may be quite modest in comparison to the booming brewing and winery trade, but recent studies have shown that it’s a rapidly growing industry, pulling in billions of dollars in revenue every year.

It’s not been an easy road for distillers in NYC thus far, as the fragmented remnants of prohibition-era laws still make it tricky to establish operations and stimulate business growth, but thanks to the New York Distillers Guild, things are steadily getting better.

So, in honor of this organization fighting the good fight for the distillers of New York State, today, we’ll be putting the NYSDG under the microscope, checking out who they are, what their goals are, and how they aim to achieve them.

But first, let’s take a look at some general facts about running a distillery in New York.

New York Distillery Legislation

There are a number of hoops distillers have to jump through in order to operate within the boundaries of New York state.

State Fees

Per gallon state excise fees for distilleries are quite low in New York, which is part of the reason why it’s such fertile ground for the small, craft operations that make up the majority of the scene.

As it stands, distillers in New York State must contribute $6.44 per gallon of spirit produced, meaning New York ranks 22nd on a list running from the most expensive (Washington) to the least expensive (Colorado) states to operate a distillery in terms of tax.

Licensing Requirements

New York state offers a tiered license list, allowing distillers to pick the one that best suits their business model.

  • The class A license is the best of the bunch, permitting a distiller to produce and sell as much spirit as they can, with no New York State ingredient requirements. However, this license costs a whopping $50,800 and expires after three years.
  • The class A-1 license designed for micro distillers caps the holder at 75,000 gallons a year, and the application fee is just $1450 for a three-year permit.
  • The class C license is a niche permit that allows a distillery to produce fruit brandy and fruit brandy alone, with no volume cap, for a fee of $937.60 for three years.
  • The class D license permits farm distilleries to produce up to 75,000 gallons a year on the basis that 75% of the ingredients used are sourced within New York State. Like the class C license, application fees are $937.60 and licenses are valid for three years.


Before a distillation license is approved in New York State, the applicant must own or rent a facility where distillation can take place. You cannot distill alcohol at home without a state license unless you have a federal fuel alcohol permit.

All other restrictions are established in the terms of each individual distiller’s license detailed above.

Who Are The New York State Distillers Guild?

The New York State Distillers Guild has garnered a robust roster of local distillery members, but the head honcho in charge of all operations is Executive Director Teresa Casey.

New York State Distillers Guild (1)

Although the original name of the guild is still recognized, the online presence of the organization is registered as NY Distilled. Almost all craft distilleries in New York State, of which there are many, are connected under this banner.

The New York State Distillers Guild was created by like-minded experts in the field of distillation operating within the state. It’s a small, non-profit organization with fewer than ten official employees, all selflessly doing their part to raise the profile of the local distillery scene.

Where Is The New York State Distillers Guild Headquartered?

The New York State Distillers Guild has a base of operations at 230 Broadway, New York, New York, 10007, and if you want to contact them online, you can reach them via their Facebook or LinkedIn accounts, or via their email at

What Does The New York State Distillers Guild Do?

The NYSDG operates on four distinct levels. Primarily, they’re a collective advocate for New York State-based distilleries, giving small operations a big voice that can be heard on a national and even an international level, helping to raise the profile of both individual NY distilleries and NY distillation in general.

One of the most effective ways of doing so is to curate a distillery trail comprising all the very best distilleries New York State has to offer, and that’s precisely what the New York State Distillers Guild has done. 

In fact, they’ve curated three discrete trails that explore different areas of the state, allowing tourists to choose the one that most appeals to them.

The ultimate goal is simply to promote the New York State distillery scene in order to facilitate two additional missions, one of which is to improve business for NY distilleries.

How do they go about this? Well, it’s all about being proactive and engaging with the local government to bargain for more favorable conditions for local distilleries.

This could include lobbying for tax cuts, the easing of rules concerning operations, and the removal of antiquated laws that inhibit business growth.

The guild’s third goal is to support the agricultural community that supplies the raw materials of the distillation process, which can be achieved through forward-thinking recycling protocols, as well as lobbying and promotion.

And last but not least, the guild serves as a gatherer of educational resources that spirit enthusiasts can use to help get their own operations up and running and refine their craft.

These resources also provide context to the New York scene, allowing those interested to hear the full story of distillation in the state.

Final Thoughts

The New York State Distillers Guild isn’t a flashy organization, so you won’t hear loads about it, but behind the scenes, the people involved are working tirelessly to improve the culture of the scene and to make New York State a more distiller-friendly place in general.

That the nascent distillery network of the state has become such a revered section of the industry already largely comes down to the efforts of the NYSDG.

With this organization at the helm of the NY distillation brand, a bright future for local distillers seems all but guaranteed.

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