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Cost of Lockdowns -- The Case of New York Distillers

by Andrew Chalk

There have been a lot of lockdowns of various state economies recently, despite scientific doubt about their effectiveness preventing the spread of COVID-19 versus other methods. A report from the New York State Distillers Guild puts content into the size of the damage these lockdowns do.



New York Craft Distillers Generate Economic Impact of $4.4 Billion With $3.2 Billion In New York State

ROSCOE, NY, February 1, 2021 – Today, the New York State Distillers Guild, the trade association of distilled spirits producers in New York State, releases its 2020 Economic Impact Study of the New York State Distilled Spirits Industry. Prepared by John Dunham & Associates (JDA), the study evaluates the contributions of New York’s distilling industry from 2019- June 2020 across several focus areas, including manufacturing, agriculture, tourism, hospitality, and retail.

New York’s craft distilling industry has been thriving in recent years and now features over 160 active craft distilleries, which is a 60 percent increase in the number of distilleries since 2016. This extraordinary growth reflects the efficacy of New York State’s forward-thinking economic and legislative policies for craft beverage producers.

JDA’s review of New York State’s distilled spirits industry encompassed spirits producers, distributors, retailers and suppliers and their respective impacts across different sectors. Overall, the study found that New York State’s distilled spirits industry:

  • Supports an economic output of $4.4 billion, of which $3.2 billion impacts New York State directly

  • Created 11,540 full-time jobs

New York State’s 160 distilleries alone directly employ more than 1,350 people (full-time equivalent), paying $348.6 million in wages and benefits, and generating $2.7 billion in economic activity.

“The study documents what members of our industry and communities have long known - New York State’s distilleries are important drivers of economic growth,” said Brian Facquet, President of the New York State Distillers Guild and Founder of Do Good Spirits in Roscoe, NY. “Our distilleries are a powerhouse of economic potential. We are positively contributing to our economy by providing well-paying jobs for thousands of New Yorkers.”

While the study’s findings are overwhelmingly positive, it’s important to note it encompasses findings from both 2019 and 2020 data prior to Covid-19.

Facquet went on to say “At the outset of the pandemic our New York Distillers pivoted to manufacturing hand sanitizer to protect our communities. This required many of our members to halt production of distilled spirits, while the rest of the alcohol industry was reporting record sales. We are proud to have done our part, but with reduced tourism, closed restaurants and the inability to market our rising brands it has been the perfect storm for our small businesses. Fortunately, Governor Cuomo extended us a lifeline when he granted the temporary allowance to safely ship to consumers in New York State. We, like all New Yorkers are down, but with practical government action like this, we will come back stronger than ever!”

"In the past year, distilleries have continued to employ skilled laborers, generate significant tax revenue, and assist to our communities when called upon. With the release of this study, we look forward to working with New York State's leadership to develop an even healthier business climate for our industry and ultimately our communities," said Cory Muscato, Partner at Lockhouse Distillery located in Buffalo, NY, and immediate past president of the NYS Distillers Guild.

The study and executive summary can be found by clicking here.


About the New York State Distillers Guild

Founded in 2013, the New York State Distillers Guild is the representative voice of the distilled spirits industry in the Empire State. The Guild’s mission is to promote and advocate for the distilling industry in New York State through the collective voice of its member distillers. For more information about distilleries in New York State, please visit



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