When Connecticut Legislators proposed "Streamlining & Modernizing" the liquor permit process, naturally, we were intrigued. But as the new law took shape, it became clear our brewing industry was in the cross-hairs.
With 116 Connecticut Breweries, employing over 6,500 people, and contributing more than $753 million to the state's economy, the trade organization associated with CT Breweries reached out to share brewers concerns with folks at the Captial & ALL of these concerns were dismissed & ignored!
I don't know about you, but it seems like they missed the mark on "modern and streamlined". Nothing says modern like more paperwork, more rules and newspaper ads. Say, how is the Hartford Courant doing these days? Still, they used this "modern & streamlined" moniker to hide what is clearly a big step backwards for Connecticut's breweries.
We're living in a new golden age of brewing. Nearly every town in Connecticut has a nearby neighborhood brewery where customers can relax, sip, savor and socialize – at least in non-COVID times. Despite the huge boom in Connecticut’s brewing business, our industry is quite powerless when it comes to shaping legislation. Which is why we need your help!
Here’s what happened. Under the heading of “Modernizing & Streamlining”, legislators & DCP consolidated the types of permits available & removed rights from permitees.
Under the newly adopted rules, we're no longer allowed to sell wine and cider. That right was revoked for no reason. More...
The legislators just decided they didn’t want to allow it anymore. They did NOT reduce the licensing fee. In fact they removed ALL other lower cost brewing licenses, and replaced them with the HIGHEST cost option: a fee which is already 4 times higher than cideries and wineries.
Of course there is a way breweries can get that right back...sort of.
Breweries can get back SOME of the revoked rights by applying for a Connecticut Craft Cafe permit; a process as complex & costly as applying for a whole new permit. More...
For an additional $400 per year, breweries can go thru another complex application process to resume selling wine and cider. This ever-so-slightly streamlined process - they shaved a few pages off the application - is virtually identical to the workload of applying for a whole new liquor license!
But there's a catch....we will ONLY be allowed to serve wine and cider that was made in Connecticut! And we cannot serve any beer made by anyone else, even if it was a collaboration. So no more guest taps.
Rather than provide incentives for locally sourced products, Connecticut simply prohibits out-of-state products. This means less choice for our patrons. More...
We love to supporting local businesses. Many breweries sources their merch, snacks and even brewing ingredients from right here in Connecticut. However, we are strongly opposed to protectionist policies which restrict customer choices.
Let the artisinal liquor producers in our state compete on their merits. If you want to give incentives to nudge vendors towards supporting Connecticut-made products, that's OK, but banning out-of-state products seems heavy-handed and excessive!
Perhaps our legislators don't believe Conecticut producres are good enough to compete in a fair and open marketplace. Maybe if they focused on helping instead of crafting new rules that get in our way, we might be better off!
If all of this sounds peculiar, unfair, and not modern at all you are not alone. We view these new laws as big step backwards!
We propose the following corrections to actually provide equaitable rules to all alcohol manufacturers in Connecticut:
Connecticut Breweries pay 4 times as much as Wineries, Cideries & Meaderies. There is no reason for this disparity. We should all pay the same. More...
The huge difference between brewery and winery/cidery fees used to make sense because breweries were allowed to sell wine & cider alongside their beer and wineries/cideries were not. Since that right has been revoked, there is no justification for keeping our fees so high! The State should not be allowed to take away rights without giving us something in return. Either give us back our rights or level the playing field by charging us all the same.
For any brewery where this rule change represents a MORE restricitive version of their permit, placarding should be waived. More...
Posting giant signs & paying for legal notices in newspapers places a costly and frustrating burden on breweries at a time where we are already struggling to keep afloat. The purpose of this archaic practice is to notify the public about NEW liquor licenses. Yet, our licenses are only "new" in the most technical sense; because the STATE abolished our old permits! The "new" permits represent a MORE restrictive variation of the one we already had - there is no reason to alert the public we will soon be providing LESS liquor service!
Being forced to re-apply for a license that is more restrictive than the previous one is not only costly and time-consuming but confusing. Consumers will not understand why there is a new placard for a business that is already there.
Forcing breweries to re-apply and jump thru all the same hoops they did the first time is a waste of our resources and state resources. We both did this already. More...
The DCP & legislative commitee claimed this was going to happen; that existing permitees would just tick a checkbox on their renewal form. But instead, we are being forced to pay new fees and re-apply for a license that is more restrictive than the one we already had.
The process for converting this license should be the same as renewal. THEY put all the burden on the permitees to fix a problem the THEY made themselves. Over the years, they created dozens of liquor license options and it was becoming difficult for them to manage. That isn't the fault of the permitees. Why are WE squarely shouldering ALL the burden?
Revoking the ability for breweries to have guest beers eliminates a vital cross-promotional tool and effectively ends collaborations. More...
Ever been to a brewery where they had a guest beer from a collaboration with another brewery? Well, not anymore -- not in Connecticut anyway. Because we're "modern". The NEW rules do not allow breweries to sell any beer made outside their facility. No more collaborations, no more guest taps from other breweries.
Collaborations were a great way to cross-polinate our audiences -- maybe a larger brewery can draw attention to a new or smaller brewery with similar values that they think their customers might enjoy. We think guest beers are a valuable asset to beer tourism and the restriction is arbitrary and inexplicable.
Many breweries will have to take on the burden imposed by these new rules before we are able to change them. We propose these breweries recieve a credit towards their license renewal. More...
The timing of this changes couldn't be worse. And we are unlikely to be able to fix it immediately. The sooner action is taken the better, but some of us are already going thru the arduious process and have no choice -- we need to keep our businesses alive.
For the breweries who've already gone thru this jilted process and complied with all the new restrictions, fees and hoops; we propose a credit on next year's permit in the amount of all this extra nonsense.
Many Representatives are either unaware of these new restrictions or haven't stopped to consider how they impact the Connecticut Brewing Industry, especially the small breweries who have been pushed to the brink in 2020.Find Your State Rep.
Share this website with your local Rep. help them see what these rule changes are doing to small businesses in their constiuency. Help us to get their attention, inform them of these destructive policies and urge them to remedy the situation.
Thank you for your continued support during this extremely difficult time. Whether it's thru takeout, merch or socially distant taproom visits we are still here because of you! Thank you!
~ Some Very Concerned CT Brewers