OLR Bill Analysis

HB 5928

AN ACT ESTABLISHING A MANUFACTURER PERMIT FOR FARM BREWERIES.

SUMMARY

This bill establishes a farm brewery manufacturer permit, which allows for, among other things, the manufacture, storage, bottling, and wholesale distribution and sale of beer manufactured at any place or premises located on a farm. A permittee may only produce up to 50,000 gallons of beer annually.

Under the bill, permittees may sell their beer on-premises and, if they obtain the requisite permit, at farmers' markets (see COMMENT). A permit also allows for the offering and tasting of free samples, and retail sales for both on- and off-premises consumption, though a town may prohibit the activity by ordinance or zoning regulation.

The bill requires permittees to use a certain amount of hops, barley, and other fermentable grown or malted in the state. After fulfilling these requirements, permittees may then advertise and sell their product as “Connecticut Craft Beer.” The bill also sets the annual fee for a farm brewery manufacturer permit at $300.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

SCOPE OF A FARM BREWERY MANUFACTURER PERMIT

The bill allows a permittee, from his or her single principal premises, to:

1. sell sealed bottles or other sealed containers of beer brewed on the premises to a wholesaler permittee,

2. offer tastings of free samples of beer manufactured by the permittee from bottles or other sealed containers to visitors and prospective retail customers to be consumed on-premises,

3. sell at retail from the premises up to nine liters of beer per person per day for off-premises consumption in sealed bottles or other sealed containers, and

4. sell at retail beer by the glass and bottle to visitors for on-premises consumption.

PRODUCT CONTENT REQUIREMENT

The bill requires permittees to use a certain amount of hops, barley, and other fermentable grown or malted in the state. In the first year of a permit's issuance, a farm brewery manufacturer permittee must use at least 25% of a combination of hops, barley, cereal grains, honey, flowers, or other fermentables grown or malted within the state when brewing his or her beer. The permittee must increase this amount to at least 50% each subsequent year. Any such beer may be advertised and sold by the farm brewery as “Connecticut Craft Beer.”

FARMERS' MARKET SALES

The bill allows a farm brewery permittee to sell the beer he or she manufactures at a farmers' market run by a nonprofit organization. To do so, the farmers' market must invite the permittee to sell his or her beer there and the permittee must obtain a farmers' market beer sales permit from the Department of Consumer Protection.

By law, a farmers' market beer sales permit allows permittees to attend an unlimited number of appearances at a farmers' market, at up to three farmers' market locations each year. Permittees may sell up to five liters of beer per person per day at a farmers' market, and they may only sell sealed bottles for off-premises consumption. The nonrefundable filing fee is $100, and the annual fee for this permit is $250.

COMMENT

Conflicting Statutes

The law prohibits holders of one class of permit from also holding a permit of another class, unless they are specifically allowed by statute to do so (CGS 30-48(a)). For example, a manufacturing class permittee cannot also hold a retail class permit unless the law makes an exception.

Although the bill allows a farm brewery permittee to obtain a farmers' market beer sales permit, it does not make the corresponding change to the statute specifying the brewery may hold both permits.

COMMITTEE ACTION

General Law Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

17

Nay

0

(03/07/2017)