HARTFORD - Brewmasters across the state tipped a glass in salute to Gov. Ned Lamont after he signed a bill into law that allows local breweries to sell more beer directly to their customers. With the passage of the bill, now beer lovers can legally purchase up to nine gallons of their favorite beer from Firefly Hollow in Bristol, Witchdoctor Brewing Co. and Skygazer Brewing in Southington, Relic Brewing in Plainville, Alvarium Beer Co. and Five Churches Brewing in New Britain and other micro-breweries in Connecticut.
The previous limit was nine liters and Ryan Galligan, manager at Firefly Hollow in Bristol, said she is thankful to Lamont and the Connecticut Brewers Guild who made the measure possible.
“Lifting the limit from nine liters to nine gallons is great for everyone,” Galligan said. “We’ve been open for five and a half years and have had consumers asking for more ‘to-go’ volume for nearly that entire time. This limit was inconvenient for our consuming public as well as for the business. We’ve wanted to be able to allow people to take home more beer for their picnics, parties and intimate gatherings, but we were severely restricted in the past. Now we can give the beer consuming public what they want, more beer. We’re so proud to be in the beer community and even more proud to see legislation like this help our community grow.”
Josh Norris, operations manager at Witchdoctor Brewing is also happy about the new legislation.
“We feel great that we don’t have to limit people anymore,” Norris said.
According to a statement from Lamont’s office, this legislation also allows beer manufacturers to consolidate all beer permits which include beer, brew pub, beer and brew pub, and farm brewery. The bill will also allow for the creation of a Connecticut Craft Café permit through which beer manufacturing permit holders will be able to sell other types of alcohol manufactured in the state. Beer manufacturers will also be able to hold multiple manufacturing permits, allowing them to make cider, spirits, wine and mead from one location.
“Consumers are continuing to show with their spending habits that they would much rather purchase locally manufactured beer and wine, and our outdated blue laws should not impede the ability of these small businesses to benefit from this growing demand,” Lamont said in the release. “This long overdue law that I’ve signed helps level the playing field and supports Connecticut brewers and farmers. There’s so many breweries and vineyards in Connecticut, and we should be doing everything we can to support them.”
Five Churches’ head brewer, Austin Japs, is glad the bill was passed not only because it will help the beer industry but also because it will allow for more business growth.
“We’re thrilled to see a bill pass that helps small businesses in Connecticut grow,” Japs said. “The craft beer industry in particular has seen amazing growth in recent years and it’s very encouraging when the Connecticut Craft Brewer’s Guild works so hard to get legislation passed that will help it continue to grow in the future.”
The new law includes other improvements in support of the liquor industry and it has been praised by many.
“This is positive news for New Britain, which has had two breweries open in the last two years,” Mayor Erin Stewart said. “These breweries have become popular destinations for both residents and visitors. This new legislation will allow consumers to increase their ability to support local businesses and gives breweries the opportunity to expand as demand continues to grow.”
“This law drags the entire liquor industry in Connecticut into the 21st century,” state Rep. Mike D’Agostino said in the release. “It is pro-consumer, pro-business and pro-Connecticut.”