Skip to content


brSchumer Visits Rooster Fish Brewing in Watkins Glen Pushes Legislation That Will Allow Small Breweries in Schuyler Chemung County to Fully Tap Their Business PotentialbrbrRooster Fish Brewing Is one of NYs First Farm Breweries Because They Use 20% Local Products in Their Beer Beer Industry Supports Nearly 60,000 Jobs In NY Pulls in Tourism Dollars Cutting Taxes On At Least 85 Small Brewing Operations Will Allow Small Breweries Across New York State To Hire More Employees, Expand Their Busi

Today, at Rooster Fish Brewing in Watkins Glen, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that he is joining more than 20 bipartisan colleagues to introduce legislation that will cut the excise tax on small breweries in half, helping small brewers in Schuyler and Chemung Counties reinvest in their business, hire new employees, and revitalize downtown communities. Currently, brewers pay a $7 excise tax for the first 60,000 barrels they brew per year. Under the Small BREW (Brewer Reinvestment and Expanding Workforce) Act of 2013 that Schumer introduced, that rate is slashed to $3.50 per barrel, resulting in potential savings of $210,000 per year for that brewery. The bill also cuts the tax by $2 on the next 1,940,000 barrels produced, resulting in potential savings of $3,880,000 each year. This totals over $4 million in potential annual savings for these brewers.


Rooster Fish Brewing is one of New York State's first "Farm Breweries" which means that they use 20% local products in their blends. They brew using New York State ingredients, like hops from Peterson Farms in Seneca Castle and malts from PennYan and Batavia. Rooster Fish produced 700 barrels of beer last year, and is on pace for 1,500 in 2013, and employs about 50 people. Under the Small BREW Act, based on expected production in 2013, Rooster Fish would save over $5,250 per year in excise taxes, which it could put straight back into the company in the form of new hires or expanded business.


"Small breweries throughout Upstate New York, like Rooster Fish Brewing, not only brew great beer, they also pour jobs into the community," Schumer said. "By cutting taxes for these small businesses, we can help grow the economy and put more New Yorkers back to work in stable, goodpaying jobs. Breweries are the crown jewels of so many of our communities, and many of them have renovated charming old buildings in downtowns across the state. Putting more money back into these businesses will be good for economic development, good for jobs, and good for Upstate New York."


Schumer was joined by the owner of Roosterfish Brewery, Doug Thayer; Watkins Glen Mayor Mark Swinnerton; President/CEO of the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce Rebekah LaMoreaux, Dennis Fagen, Chair of the Schuyler County Legislature; and the owner of Upstate Brewing Company, Ken Mortensen.


Senator Schumer joined Senator Ben Cardin (DMD) and colleagues on both sides of the aisle in support of the Small BREW Act of 2013, which would make any brewery that brews fewer than 6 million barrels of beer per year eligible for the tax cut that will allow brewers to reinvest in workers, new equipment and new space as they expand their business. This tax cut would save small brewing companies over $17 million nationwide this year.


The approximately 2,400 small and independent breweries across the country combine to generate more than $3 billion in wages and benefits, and pay more than $2.3 billion in taxes annually. In New York, the beer industry directly supports approximately 8,000 jobs through brewing and distribution, and nearly 60,000 jobs overall when retail sales are factored in. These jobs paid $2.1 billion in wages in 2010, and accounted for $5.3 billion in economic activity. A Harvard study of the proposal predicts that passage of the proposal would increase economic activity in the small brewery sector by $153 million in the first year and almost $865 million over the first five years. Every dollar saved by cutting the excise tax would result in nearly $11 dollars in economic activity, providing an immediate and substantial boost to the economy. According to the study, the proposal would generate over 5,200 new jobs in the first year, and an additional 400 jobs going forward annually.


Roosterfish Brewing currently runs on a ten barrel specific mechanical system, using organic ingredients and water from Seneca Lake.  Roosterfish Brewing's first official beer, Black Walnut Nut Brown Ale (now known as Original Nut Brown Ale) was unveiled at the Crooked Rooster and Wildflower Café in 2004.  This was shortly followed with the Butternut Pale Ale, now known as Dog Tooth Pale Ale.  The future brewing site, the old firehouse on Main Street of Watkins Glen, New York, was purchased in 2007 and will house a larger brewing system.   Plans are in the making for renovations that will allow Roosterfish Brewing to continue expansion, and even include a bottling line in the notsodistant future.



# # #