NEW YORK, July 5, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — We are pleased to announce that Governor Hochul has signed New York Assembly Bill A.8620/Senator Bill 7913 into law on Friday, July 1st, amending the Beverage Control Act which is codified as Chapter 255 Laws of 2022. This amendment will now allow Japanese Shochu (24% ABV or under) to be sold under a beer and wine license. With this critical change, the shochu category can be recognized on its own and be labeled and sold for the first time in New York as “Shochu”.
Specifically, the legislation reads:
Such license shall in form and in substance be a license to the person specifically licensed to sell wine at retail, to be consumed upon the premises. Such license shall also be deemed to include a license to sell beer [and], soju AND SHOCHU at retail to be consumed under the same terms and conditions without the payment of any additional fee. For the purposes of this subdivision:
(B) “SHOCHU” SHALL MEAN AN IMPORTED JAPANESE ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE THAT CONTAINS NOT MORE THAN TWENTY-FOUR PER CENTUM ALCOHOL, BY VOLUME, AND IS DERIVED FROM AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS.
New York Japanese Restaurant Association (NYJRA) Board Member Treasurer, Chikako Ichihara and Legislator and Legal Advisor, John McCarthy commented, “This important moment has been years in the making, and we’d especially like to thank the support of the local government, in particular the Assembly Member Didi Barrett, the primary sponsor of A.8620, and Senator Anna M. Kaplan, the primary sponsor of S.7913. Their crucial support of this legislation, in addition to the Japanese community, is greatly appreciated.”
The NYJRA will be sharing additional information regarding the law’s implementation as it is available to ensure a seamless rollout and to welcome a greater appreciation of one of Japan’s oldest spirits, Shochu.
Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association (JSS) comments, “We are very excited as we have wanted this for many years. We thank the NYJRA, importers, distributors, the Japanese community, and government agencies for their support. We would like to take this opportunity to let everyone know the joy of shochu in cooperation with our partner.”
The NYJRA was a registered as a 501(c)6 non-profit organization in 2020. Its mission is to support NY Japanese restaurants and related companies to address significant issues affecting their business. As a 501(c)6, the NYJRA can also lobby for legislative changes. The NYJRA also seeks to revitalize the prevalence of Japanese food and culture through its activities.
The Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association (JSS, Chairman Haruhiko Okura) mission is to introduce Japan’s most popular traditional spirits—Shochu and Awamori—to the world and to position it in the industry as a Japanese handcrafted spirit. JSS was established in 1953 under the “Act on Securing of Liquor Tax and on Liquor Business Associations”. It represents approximately 1700 producers of sake, honkaku Shochu, Awamori, and Hon-mirin. In addition, JSS has over 270 shochu distillery members throughout the country, which produce more than 2000 brands today.
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SOURCE Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association; NY Japanese Restaurant Association