Brewers Greet State’s Reversal on Rule

Written by Erin Ailworth for Boston.com/The Boston Globe

The state’s Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission yesterday decided to ditch a licensing rule change that would have hurt more than two dozen Massachusetts craft brewers and, the beer makers said, put several companies out of business.

The new rule would have required brewers operating under a farmer-brewery license to grow 50 percent of the grains or hops they use to make malt beverages, or get them from a domestic source, which many brewers interpreted to mean Massachusetts. That, they said, would be impossible for most brewers, because the state doesn’t produce enough of the necessary ingredients.

After meeting with brewers yesterday – including the makers of Samuel Adams, as well as Cape Ann Brewing Company and Ipswich Ale Brewery – state Treasurer Steven Grossman said the commission, which his office oversees, had made a “mistake.’’ The farmer-brewery license costs hundreds, even thousands, of dollars less than the state’s other brewing licenses, and allows brewers to market their beer directly to retailers, a necessity for many of the small businesses to grow.

“The 50 percent threshold will not be implemented,’’ Grossman said. “We realized that perhaps we went a little beyond what was practical.’’

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