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What are Connecticut craft distillers concerned about?

On Behalf of | Jan 22, 2019 | Business Formation & Planning |

More parity.

In a nutshell, that’s it.

So say Connecticut craft distillers frustrated by what they regard as an uneven regulatory playing field that favors breweries and wineries across the state while selectively penalizing them.

Here’s an example of what drives their angst and ire. A Connecticut brewery can sell nine liters of beer for offsite consumption to a visitor at its production facility. And there are no restrictions at all attached to how many bottles of product a purchaser can haul away from a wine-making facility.

Conversely, a craft distiller — think beverages like whiskey, rum, gin and vodka – can sell a visitor no more than two bottles of spirits for home use.

And then there’s this: Although there is no limit attached to how much alcohol can be served to guests at breweries and wineries, there is a ceiling relevant to craft distillers, and it is low, indeed. A recent Hartford Business article on craft distiller-linked regulations and industry complaints stresses that, “State law only permits [spirit makers] to serve a 2-ounce sample to visitors during tours or tasting events.”

Distillers’ collective response to that notable limitation is an almost audible “ouch.” They argue that they simply can’t grow their businesses and compete absent meaningful – spelled liberalized – legislative changes.

“We watch our revenue walk out the door every single day,” says one industry principal.

Craft distillers say that loosening the regulatory noose on their business realm will help rather than harm industry critics like bar and restaurant owners. They state that enhanced “tasting-room” growth will enhance brand recognition, leading to more sales of spirits at those establishments.