Griffo bill would allow wine ice cream to be sold in smaller containers

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Legislation that would allow fans of wine ice creams to enjoy their treats in smaller containers has been introduced by state Sen. Joseph A. Griffo.

Mercer’s Dairy, Route 12, Boonville is known for its wine-infused ice cream line, which includes cherry merlot, chocolate cabernet, lemon sparkling, peach white zinfandel and red raspberry chardonnay, among others.

A pioneer in this segment of the ice cream market, it developed the adult treat in 2006. It is sold in the U.S. and foreign countries.

Griffo’s bill would do away with an Agriculture and Markets law requirement that the dessert be sold in containers of at least one pint.

“Every event or venue we’ve had access to has been asking for smaller Dixie cups for people to eat wine ice cream out of, since many people don’t come to these venues looking to carry around pints of ice cream,” said Roxaina Hurlburt, Mercer’s director of marketing. “But out of the 22 states we sell in, New York is the only state that has size restrictions on wine ice cream.”

Individual flavors contain up to 5 percent wine. In New York, wine ice cream cannot be sold to those under 21 years of age.

Griffo, R-47, Rome, hopes his bill will satisfy the demand for smaller packaging sizes so wine ice cream can be more easily eaten on occasions such as weddings, fundraisers, recreational tours, cruise ships and even events that highlight local products. Mercer’s wine ice cream is typically among the offerings at the annual New York Farm Day in Washington, D.C.

“If there is a substantial demand for a product or service offered by businesses in our state, our laws should not stand in the way of this opportunity to fuel our local economies,” said Griffo. “The wine ice cream of Mercer’s Dairy in my district is known all across the world, and I am proud to lead this effort to help small businesses like Mercer’s better meet the demands of the public.”

The bill is sponsored in the Assembly by Agriculture Committee Chairman William D. Magee, D-121, Nelson.

“This legislation to allow for the smaller individual packaging of this popular product will create the opportunity for Mercer’s to fill a consumer demand that serves a niche market for special occasions so that their delicious specialty wine ice creams can be easily served, sampled and enjoyed by more people, and I am pleased to sponsor this bill in the Assembly,” he said.

This is not the first time that Griffo has taken an interest in Mercer’s wine ice cream. The senator’s efforts 10 years ago helped make it legal for wine ice cream to be sold in New York state.

“Senator Griffo has always been supportive of new businesses and their owners, and I want to thank the senator for his ongoing efforts to make it easier for businesses to achieve success in our state,” said Hurlburt.

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