PA 17-160—HB 5928

General Law Committee

AN ACT ESTABLISHING A MANUFACTURER PERMIT FOR FARM BREWERIES

SUMMARY: This act establishes a farm brewery manufacturer permit, which allows Connecticut farms to manufacture, store, bottle, wholesale distribute, and sell beer manufactured on their property. A permittee may annually produce up to 75,000 gallons of beer.

The act requires farm brewery manufacturer 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 act also (1) sets the annual fee for a farm brewery manufacturer permit at $300 and (2) prohibits permittees from selling or dispensing alcohol during certain times or on certain holidays.

Under the act, a farm brewery manufacturer permit allows for the offering and tasting of free beer samples and retail sales for both on- and off-premises consumption, although a town may prohibit the activities by ordinance or zoning regulation. Such permittees may also sell their beer at farmers' markets if they obtain a farmers' market beer sales permit.

And the act 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.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

SCOPE OF A FARM BREWERY MANUFACTURER PERMIT

The act allows a farm brewery manufacturer 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 free samples of beer manufactured by the permittee from bottles or other sealed containers to visitors and prospective retail customers for on-premises consumption, unless prohibited by municipal ordinance or zoning regulations;

3. sell, at retail, from the premises up to nine liters of beer per person per day in sealed bottles or other sealed containers for off-premises consumption (see BACKGROUND, Off-premises Consumption Hours); and

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

The act also requires permittees to offer either (1) free potable water to anyone who requests it or (2) nonalcoholic beverages for sale.

CONNECTICUT CONTENT REQUIREMENT

The act requires permittees to use a certain amount of hops, barley, or other fermentables grown or malted in the state when manufacturing their beer. In the first year a permit is issued, a 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. The permittee must increase this amount to at least 50% in subsequent years. Any such beer may be advertised and sold by the farm brewery as “Connecticut Craft Beer.”

FARMERS' MARKET SALES

The act 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 the beer there and the permittee must obtain a farmers' market beer sales permit from the Department of Consumer Protection.

The act also increases, from five to seven liters, the quantity of beer a permittee may sell to a person per day at a farmers' market.

By law, a farmers' market beer sales permit allows permittees to make 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 for this permit is $100, and the annual permit fee 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 act 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 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)).

Related Act

PA 17-232 establishes a farm distillery manufacturer permit, which allows Connecticut farms to manufacture, store, bottle, wholesale distribute, and sell distilled alcohol or spirits they produce on their property, including whiskey, gin, vodka, and rum.