OLR Bill Analysis

HB05928 (as amended by House “A”)*

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 produce up to 75,000 gallons of beer annually.

Under the bill, a farm brewery permit 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. Such permittees may also sell their beer at farmers' markets if they also obtain the farmers' market beer sales permit.

The bill requires permittees to use a certain amount of hops, barley, or other fermentables 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.

The bill also increases, from five to seven liters, the amount a farmers' market beer sales permittee may sell to a person per day at a farmers' market.

*House Amendment “A” (1) increases the amount permittees may annually produce and sell at a farmers' market and (2) makes technical and conforming changes.

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 (see BACKGROUND), 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, or other fermentables 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.

The bill also increases the amount, from five to seven liters, a permittee may sell to a person per day at a farmers' market.

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. 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.

HOLDING TWO ALCOHOL PERMITS

By law, alcohol permittees are generally prohibited from holding alcohol permits in different permit classes, unless specifically exempted.  The bill allows a farm brewery manufacturer permittee to also hold a farmers' market beer sales permit.

BACKGROUND

Off-premises Consumption Hours

Off-premises sale and dispensing of alcohol are generally allowed only on days Monday through Saturday, from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., and Sundays, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Permittees cannot sell or dispense alcohol on Thanksgiving Day, New Year's Day, or Christmas Day (CGS 30-91(d)).

COMMITTEE ACTION

General Law Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

17

Nay

0

(03/07/2017)