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09.2011

Massachusetts Beverage Business

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DODGED A BULLET!

In the end, all’s well that ends well. A week after the ABCC issued an extremely controversial advisory that it would require applicants for a farmer-brewery license to source half of their agricultural materials from in-state sources, the organization reversed its ruling. When first issued, the advisory instantly drew outrage from the state’s brewers who, without that license, would not be able to operate on-site tastings at breweries. Many feared they would have to pay a distributor to get their products into retail outlets, rather than doing it themselves. The decision drew the ire of lawmakers as well. “The commission’s insistence . . . is impractical in Massachusetts and a job-killer,’’ Senator Scott Brown wrote in a letter to state Treasurer and Receiver General Steven Grossman, who oversees the commission. “The costs of compliance would be burdensome, and in some cases, crushing . . . I urgently request that the ABCC reconsider this proposed change.’’ After meeting with brewers, Grossman said the Commission had made a “mistake”. “The 5O percent threshold will not be implemented,” he said. “We realized that perhaps we went a little beyond what was practical.” Instead, Commission officials will hold several regulatory hearings across the state to “seek input and testimony from all interested parties” to come up with common sense regulations.

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