Connecticut craft brewing industry principals and state interest groups representing alcohol wholesalers, distributors and restaurant owners have been figuratively at each other’s throats since, well, forever.
It thus seems appropriate for a recent media piece to refer to a conclave earlier this year between agents of the two camps as an “unprecedented, even awkward meeting.” That article underscores the negotiating stalemates that have routinely stymied industry leaders seeking reforms “that would revamp Connecticut’s outdated, and often restrictive, liquor laws.”
Future meetings seem destined to be much more palatable – perhaps even euphoric – for brewing principals, though. The proverbial tide has unquestionably turned in the industry’s favor.
We noted that last month, in our Berdon, Young & Margolis July 15 blog post. We spotlighted therein recently passed legislation expanding the selling rights of craft beer producers. Broad-based industry supporters have argued long and strenuously that greater commercial prerogatives would bring new jobs and profits to the state.
They have been right in that assessment. Moreover, the disappearance of some business-expansion hurdles is now inspiring some key industry participants to act boldly on new plans to further expand operations within the state.
Reportedly, three of Connecticut’s top-tier craft beer makers have decided in the near wake of what is clearly a progressively improving business climate to embark on major build-out efforts. Expansion plans entail adding more operational space, buying new equipment and, importantly, hiring more workers.
Connecticut presently has 92 operating breweries located broadly across the state. Those businesses collectively contribute an estimated $3 billion-plus in revenues each year, a figure that might now increase materially as expansion efforts ramp up.