Archive for August, 2011
A bit of good news to report on a recent blog post of mine regarding the “Farmer-Brewery” license in MA. After a group of MA craft brewers sat down with State Treasurer Steven Grossman, Mr. Grossman announced, on August 8th, that the Alcohol Beverage Control Commission (ABCC) would be reversing the rule change dealing with “Farmer-Brewery” licensing and will schedule a series of public hearings for comments on the current system of licensing. That is certainly good news, especially since the ruling would have had a dramatic economic impact on current state breweries. Prior to Mr. Grossman’s announcement, legislation was filed by State Senator Robert Hedlund (R-Weymouth), on August 4th, that dealt with the ABCC’s “Farmer-Brewery” ruling by creating a new craft brewer license. I am unsure where this legislation now stands, due to the ABCC’s reversal, but the press release announcing the legislation ended with a nice quote.
Craft brewers already must deal with many disadvantages, from our archaic regulatory structure to the outdated 3 tiered distribution rules to competition from international conglomerate brewers.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.
Given that today is IPADay, I thought I would write a post I’ve meant to write for some time. A while back Alan wrote a post titled “Mr Gillman On APA, SN PA, Liberty, Ballentines And Stuff“. Having just read about Ballantine IPA in Amber Gold & Black: The History of Britain’s Great Beers, I was curious to read if the post had any more nuggets of Ballantine information.
Boy did it! The post references a forum discussion on how to make a recreation of Ballantine IPA. The recreation utilizes two currently (albeit seasonal) brewed Sierra Nevada beers, Celebration Ale and Bigfoot Barleywine, in a “Half and Half” mixture.
Unfortunately I have neither beer in my beer stash, so I will have to wait, anxiously, for this year’s seasonal release of both beers. I look forward to trying the mix out and reporting back with my thoughts.
Happy IPADay everyone.
PS A good, quick read about IPA myths by Martyn Cornell.
Well this certainly is disconcerting news to read. It seems as though the Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (the commission of patronage) is taking a firmer stance on “Farmer-Brewery” licenses that will surely put a damper on the recently burgeoning local craft beer industry of Massachusetts.
Though there is another style of brewing license available called “Manufacturer of Wine and Malt Beverages License”, this license does not allow for breweries to self-distribute or do on site brewery tastings (two major pluses for small craft breweries). If a brewery does want to self-distribute they need a second license called a “Wholesaler’s license”. As for on site tasting, I’m not sure there is another license that covers that. Granted this recent firmer stance by the Commission is a great win for distributors in the state, since the new breweries will need to go through said distributors if the breweries can not pony up the cash ($5000) for a wholesaler’s license (the distributors probably had nothing to do with this recent firmer stance). Unfortunately as it stands it looks like the law will need to be updated for either a reinterpretation of “Farmer-Brewery” or a new license devised for self-distribution and tasting, with distributors fighting tooth and nail against (as they have before when dealing with distribution law changes).
The thing is (and this may shock some people, because Massauchesetts is located in the grain belt*), and as a post on Brewbound points out, Massachusetts does not even come close to producing enough malting barley for brewers to meet the “Farmer-Brewery” requirement. I guess if all the local farmers replaced their fresh grown edible produce with malting barley and hops, this might all just work out however. Then again that seems like a rather strange priority to have.
*No it isn’t.