PA 17-232—HB 7072

General Law Committee

AN ACT ESTABLISHING A FARM DISTILLERY MANUFACTURER PERMIT

SUMMARY: This act 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. It sets the annual permit fee at $300.

Under the act, permittees may produce up to 10,000 gallons of alcohol or spirits annually. They must grow at least 25% of the fruit or crops used to make them, and may not sell any other distilled alcohol or spirits they did not manufacture. And the act allows permittees to offer free samples and tastings and retail sales for off-premises consumption, unless the towns in which they are located prohibit such activities by ordinance or zoning regulation.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2017

SCOPE OF A FARM DISTILLERY MANUFACTURER PERMIT

The act authorizes the farm distillery manufacturer permittee, from the single, principal premises of the farm where the spirits or alcohol are made, to do the following:

1. sell the alcohol or spirits in bulk;

2. sell and ship the alcohol or spirits to a retailer in original sealed containers of up to 15 gallons each;

3. offer free samples and tastings, for on-premises consumption, to visitors and prospective retail customers of up to two ounces per person per day; and

4. sell, at retail, up to four and one-half liters of the alcohol or spirits per person per day, in sealed bottles or other sealed containers for off-premises consumption.

Existing law generally allows off-premises sale and dispensing of alcohol 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)).

FRUIT, CROP, AND ACREAGE REQUIREMENTS

The act requires the permittee to grow an average crop of fruit or crops equal to at least 25% of those used to make the alcohol or spirits. These crops must be grown (1) on the permittee's farm, (2) on property under his or her ownership and control or leased by the backer of the farm distillery, or (3) by the permittee in the farm distillery's principal state (i.e., Connecticut). Under the act, an “average crop” is the average yield of the permittee's two largest annual crops in the preceding five years.

If the farm distillery consists of more than one property, its total acreage must be at least five acres.

BACKGROUND

Related Act

PA 17-160 establishes a farm brewery manufacturer permit, which allows Connecticut farms to manufacture, store, bottle, wholesale distribute, and sell beer manufactured on their property.