The Great Bottle Opener Giveaway

Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Beer Discussion > Massachusetts Small Breweries in Trouble?

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 08-04-2011, 12:53 PM   #1
rayg
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Mass
Posts: 351
Liked 11 Times on 10 Posts
Likes Given: 1

Default Massachusetts Small Breweries in Trouble?

They have to buy domestic or grow their own now:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44017396...ews-boston_ma/

Ray

__________________
Zymotechnia Fundamentalis
Ask not for whom the beer twangs; it twangs for thee.
rayg is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-04-2011, 12:57 PM   #2
Boleslaus
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Posts: 1,245
Liked 20 Times on 20 Posts
Likes Given: 10

Default

I don't know that much about it, but if you aren't growing much of your own hops or malt...why would you call yourself a farmer-brewer in the first place? Why wouldn't you just be a regular brewery?

__________________

Watch me leap through this hoop!

My current line-up:

Fermenter 1: Altbier

Boleslaus is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-04-2011, 12:58 PM   #3
stratslinger
Brewing Thespian
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
stratslinger's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Terryville, CT
Posts: 1,821
Liked 105 Times on 91 Posts
Likes Given: 81

Default

So wait - MA defined rules that would make breweries using a "farmer brewery" license, you know, actually have to farm? The horror!

Seriously though... That article doesn't make this sound like a bad thing. It sounds like it's only breweries using this specific type of license, and it also sounds like that type of license should carry some kind of qualifying criteria.

I don't see why these folks are saying they'd need to close - shouldn't they just be looking at alternative licensing that's more in line with the business they're actually doing?

__________________
stratslinger is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-04-2011, 12:59 PM   #4
unionrdr
Wannabe author
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
unionrdr's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Sheffield, Ohio
Posts: 27,792
Liked 1826 Times on 1609 Posts
Likes Given: 1295

Default

Sounds like the new rule wasn't very well thought out. Or maybe some BMC tactic to cut some up & coming competition.
__________________
Everything works if ya let it-Roady(meatloaf)
My new book is on Amazon Kindle! http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00L3MCU0W
unionrdr is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-04-2011, 01:03 PM   #5
JetSmooth
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Baltimore, MD
Posts: 1,881
Liked 43 Times on 39 Posts
Likes Given: 10

Default

"The law is designed to promote farming in Massachusetts."

Seems pretty clear to me if you're claiming to be a farmer in order to get a particular license, you should actually. . erm. . FARM.

This is like a church applying for tax-exemption but not holding services or promoting religion, but operating a skating rink instead.

__________________
http://smokebubbles.wordpress.com - Brewin' and 'Quein' since last Tuesday.

Bottling the Belgian: A Photo Odyssey

Beer is the mind-killer. Beer is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my beer. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see it's path. When the beer has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
JetSmooth is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-04-2011, 01:12 PM   #6
treehousebrewco
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Brimfield, MA
Posts: 5
Default

This has devastating and far reaching consequences on existing and start-up breweries in the Bay State.

Under current law, many of the state's small and large breweries are operating under a Farmer-Brewer license - Including Boston Beer Company and Harpoon. This allows for on-site tasting, retail sales, and self distribution. The law, as it's written, does not implicitly lay out the percentages by which one must farm their own ingredients - the ABCC decided to abuse their power and apply and arbitrary statute to the law and it is so short-sited and uninformed that it hurts my brain.

The infrastructure and farm land simply does not exist to support the new rules - Growing grain is one thing - malting it is an entirely different animal. Something has to give or there will be about three breweries left in the state.

The key issue everyone has is this - For many, many years breweries have been operating wonderful, fruitful operations under the Farmer-Brewer license. They have never enforced a % of local ingredients to qualify. Hell, it's not even on the application! This move completely blindsides existing businesses and it's a damn shame.

__________________
treehousebrewco is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-04-2011, 01:15 PM   #7
ayoungrad
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Newton, MA
Posts: 1,100
Liked 7 Times on 7 Posts
Likes Given: 1

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by JetSmooth View Post
"The law is designed to promote farming in Massachusetts."

Seems pretty clear to me if you're claiming to be a farmer in order to get a particular license, you should actually. . erm. . FARM.
I agree with this. The law was initially set up to promote local farming. That is why it exists. It sounds like, over the years, the initial impetus has been lost. But it's unfortunate for those who are being made the first example of rerouting to the original spirit of the law.

I bet that getting a more traditional license in MA is both more expensive and more difficult to get.
__________________
ayoungrad is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-04-2011, 01:16 PM   #8
treehousebrewco
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Brimfield, MA
Posts: 5
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by stratslinger View Post
So wait - MA defined rules that would make breweries using a "farmer brewery" license, you know, actually have to farm? The horror!

Seriously though... That article doesn't make this sound like a bad thing. It sounds like it's only breweries using this specific type of license, and it also sounds like that type of license should carry some kind of qualifying criteria.

I don't see why these folks are saying they'd need to close - shouldn't they just be looking at alternative licensing that's more in line with the business they're actually doing?
The only other option is a manufacturer's license, which is $4500 a year and forces a small, slim margin brewer to compete with AB for distributor truck space. In other words - they can't.

It also eliminates half of what makes such a business so appealing to both customers and owners - on-site tastings and retail sales.
__________________
treehousebrewco is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-04-2011, 01:17 PM   #9
ayoungrad
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Newton, MA
Posts: 1,100
Liked 7 Times on 7 Posts
Likes Given: 1

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by treehousebrewco View Post
This has devastating and far reaching consequences on existing and start-up breweries in the Bay State.

Under current law, many of the state's small and large breweries are operating under a Farmer-Brewer license - Including Boston Beer Company and Harpoon. This allows for on-site tasting, retail sales, and self distribution. The law, as it's written, does not implicitly lay out the percentages by which one must farm their own ingredients - the ABCC decided to abuse their power and apply and arbitrary statute to the law and it is so short-sited and uninformed that it hurts my brain.

The infrastructure and farm land simply does not exist to support the new rules - Growing grain is one thing - malting it is an entirely different animal. Something has to give or there will be about three breweries left in the state.

The key issue everyone has is this - For many, many years breweries have been operating wonderful, fruitful operations under the Farmer-Brewer license. They have never enforced a % of local ingredients to qualify. Hell, it's not even on the application! This move completely blindsides existing businesses and it's a damn shame.
It sounds like what is necessary is the institution of a new category. Farmer-Brewer should not be applied when there is no farming involved. But I agree that if a new category to cover breweries is not initiated, there will be problems.
__________________
ayoungrad is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-04-2011, 01:23 PM   #10
treehousebrewco
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Brimfield, MA
Posts: 5
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ayoungrad View Post
It sounds like what is necessary is the institution of a new category. Farmer-Brewer should not be applied when there is no farming involved. But I agree that if a new category to cover breweries is not initiated, there will be problems.
The idea of a farmer brewer is outrageous in any context. The malting process is highly specialized and requires a significant capital investment. Not only that, but the state is non-fertile ground for barley. 99.9% of it comes from west of the Mississippi.

The law is antiquated desperately needed to be modernized. The term "farmer-brewer" is and always has been a misnomer.
__________________
treehousebrewco is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply


Quick Reply
Message:
Options
Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Big breweries using small names to conceal themselves? krazydave General Beer Discussion 148 03-24-2011 11:23 PM
Too Bad Im Not In Massachusetts anymore Recusit8m General Beer Discussion 0 01-04-2010 06:27 PM
Do small breweries propagate their own yeast? jcarson83 General Beer Discussion 20 08-18-2009 02:49 AM
Buying beer from small breweries BOBTHEukBREWER General Beer Discussion 9 11-09-2008 01:31 AM
Looking for help from Massachusetts Brewers... Anthony_Lopez General Beer Discussion 1 08-28-2008 09:20 PM