Massachusetts ruling said to imperil state’s craft brewers
on 06/08/11 at 10:28 amBeer
A rule change at the state’s Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission could hurt 25 craft breweries in Massachusetts, and some smaller beer makers say it could even put them out of business.Brewers such as Samuel Adams beer maker Boston Beer Co., Mayflower Brewing Co., Ipswich Ale Brewery, and others that operate under what is called a farmer-brewery license would be affected by the change, which has caused a buzz in the industry since it was disclosed in a commission advisory earlier this week. The change still has to be finalized, state officials said.
The new rule would require brewers under that license to grow at least half the hops and grains they use, or get them from a domestic source — which many said would be difficult in Massachusetts. Without that license, breweries could not operate on-site tastings, and, beer makers fear, would be forced to pay distributors to deliver their beer to retail outlets rather than save money by doing it themselves.
New York does not currently have a farm brewery designation. (There is one for farm wineries.) A bill in an Assembly committee to allow farm breweries in New York would offer financial and other inducements for farmers to build breweries. It would also require farm breweries to use 25 percent New York-grown hops, and 40 percent of all other ingredients sourced from within the state, for the first five years. After 10 years, beermakers that wished to keep their farm brewery license would have to use 90 percent New York ingredients.