(Boston, MA) – Sen. Robert Hedlund (R-Weymouth) responding to a recent advisory from the Alcoholic Brevages Control Commission (ABCC) has filed legislation protecting Massachusetts brewers.
(Photo courtesy of Ferrariguy90 on Flickr – creative commons)
The advisory sent August 1st, explains the ABCC interpretation of Massachusetts General Laws (MGL) chapter 138, §19C which indentifies farm-brewers. In its decision, the Commission held that each applicant for a Farmer-Brewery license must document that it grows cereal grains or hops of at least 50%, in the aggregate, of the quantity of cereal grains and hops needed to produce the gallonage of malt beverages estimated to be produced by the applicant during the license term.
The interpretation by ABCC appears as an attempt to force small brewers to obtain the more complicated manufacturer’s license, which also cost far more than the “Farm-Brewer” License.
“At a time when industries are struggling, forcing small brewers to obtain high cost licenses seems counter-productive,” said Senator Hedlund, “what we should be doing is creating a streamlined licensing process using these low cost licenses as an incentive and actually grow an industry in Massachusetts as opposed to destroying one.”
The legislation filed by Hedlund Senate Docket __, filed August 4th, creates a new license in the alcoholic manufactures license law for craft brewers. Brewers still have the option of operating under newly interpreted “Farm-Brewer” definition or utilize the new craft beer license the legislation creates. Rather than paying the $6,000 – $10,000 for a manufactures license, this new license makes it affordable for craft brewers producing less than 200,000 barrels per year. The legislation also protects the self- distribution and retail sales components of the “Farm Brewer” business model.
Craft Brewers producing less than 5,000 barrels pay a fee of $22
Craft Brewers producing 5,000 barrels to 20,000 barrels pay a fee of $44
Craft Brewers producing 20,000 barrels to 100,000 barrels pay a fee of $82
Craft Brewers producing 100,000 to 200,000 barrels pay a fee of $110
With 28 members of the Massachusetts Brewers Guild and breweries ranging in size from Harpoon, to Idle Hands the legislation could be a means of attracting even more brewers to Massachusetts and employing even more Massachusetts residents.
“Craft brewers already must deal with many disadvantages, from our archaic regulatory structure to the outdated 3 tiered distribution rules to competition from international conglomerate brewers. We should be creating incentives to promote this industry not hamstring it,” said Senator Hedlund.