There are related bills (“Bills”) in the Massachusetts House and Senate that would allow breweries to sell beer at farmers markets. The bills would allow local licensing authorities to issue special licenses to brewers. An example of a standard alcoholic beverage is a 12-ounce can of Budweiser at 5% alcohol by volume (ABV). The alcohol content offered at these farmers markets can vary, as most craft beers range from 4.5% to 12% ABV.
Sealed containers for ‘to-go’ sales (such as bottles or cans) are also allowed, with no limit on the number of sealed containers allowed per customer. Package stores are among the most critical of these bills. The risk from package stores is probably less for someone who buys small amounts of beer, and more so for people who buy beer by the caseload.
Licensing authorities must take into account certain criteria, such as the number of breweries in the farmers market, and the focus is really on local products. The licensing authority has the ability to issue regulations for breweries at the event (monitoring, operation, control). In theory, the licensing authority may have the ability to limit the amount of ‘to-go’ beer each customer can purchase at these farmers markets.
In the year On March 24, 2022, the House made a favorable report when it referred the bills (now running side by side in the legislative process) to the House Ways and Means Committee (the “Committee”). For those unfamiliar with the committee, it is responsible for issuing bills. The committee is still in conference on the bill. According to a committee spokesman, there is no way to know how long the bill will remain in committee. The legislative session ends on July 31, 2022. However, the bills’ status with committee makes them ‘alive’ for the purposes of this session. There are several scenarios that could happen before the new session begins on January 1, 2023. If the committee approves the bills, they will be sent to the Senate and House for further negotiations, and if they agree, the bills will be sent to the 2018 Senate. Speaker, and then can be signed into law for the governor. On the other hand, if the committee does not report before the end of the year or sends the draft bills, but the Senate and the House cannot reach a decision, the draft regulations must be presented again in the next meeting. January 1, 2023
Stay tuned for more updates.