Environment Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-5119

Title:

AN ACT AUTHORIZING THE SALE OF CERTAIN BRANDY BY FARM WINERIES.

Vote Date:

3/11/2015

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

2/4/2015

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE

REASONS FOR BILL:

To refine current law so that farm wineries be allowed to sell brandy even though it is not distilled on their own premises.

Substitute Language: add “fruit”. LCO 4997

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

None Expressed.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Rep. Mike Alberts, 50th Dist.

The current requirement that the entire product manufacturing process be done on-site is not feasible for most small size farm wineries that are unable to complete the brandy production process on site. HB 5119 would remove a prohibition that unfairly punishes local farm wineries for their small size.

Henry N. Talmage, Executive Director, Connecticut Farm Bureau Association (CFBA).

With craft spirits expanding in the marketplace, HB 5119 offers a timely proposal for wineries to make a related value-added product by adding brandy sales and expand their product offering without having to invest in very expensive distillery equipment and the subsequent Federal Distilled Spirits Plant Permit. Adding “fruit” after the “grapes” designation on the bill would allow for other fruit brandy to be included.

Russell Holmberg, Holmberg Orchards and Winery, Gales Ferry, CT.

The bill would allow for additional products to be marketed from crops grown on farms without having to incur the cost of distillation equipment. The bill also offers a new revenue stream to existing distilleries that have this equipment and excess capacity to run it. Since wine is made from fruits other grapes, the bill should state “Brandy manufactured from grapes AND FRUIT harvested on wine farms.

George Motel, President of the Connecticut Vineyard and Winery Association.

Passage of HB 5119 would help farm wineries to diversify their product lines and offer more products to customers without the high cost of a still for low volume of production. A suggested change to the language, which would make the law consistent with the rest of the farm winery act, could read “brandy manufactured from grapes and fruit” harvested at farm wineries.

Keith B. Bishop, Treasurer, Connecticut Vineyard and Winery Association.

The Association supports the bill's proposal to help farm wineries diversify product lines and offer more to customers without the high cost of a still for low volume of production. It is important that the language of the bill state “from fruit” and not be restricted to read ”brandy manufactured from grapes.

Margaret and Louis Chatey, Westford Hill Distillers, LLC.

Outsourcing the distillation process for making brandy saves small wineries the expense of adding and maintaining the equipment themselves as well as avoiding the cumbersome process involved in obtaining a Federal Distilled Spirits Plant permit .Expanding the availability of brandy in Connecticut is good for the state's craft spirit industry, for expanding tax revenue, and for consumers who are seeking quality local spirits.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

None Expressed.

Reported by: Madeline Grabinski

Date: March 16, 2015