HARTFORD, CT — An army of craft brewers descended on the state Capitol Tuesday to ask legislators to lift the limit on how much beer they can sell from the state’s increasingly popularity brewery industry.
Currently, craft brewers in the state are limited to selling only 9 liters of beer per customer transaction from their breweries — which John Kraszewski, owner and founder of Armada Brewing of East Haven — said translates into “about 21, 16-ounce cans.”
The General Law Committee heard testimony on a bill, HB 5036, that would lift the limits.
“Craft beer is exploding in Connecticut,” Kraszewski said. “Meanwhile it is also exploding all over New England.”
Kraszewski continued: “People from Connecticut are going to breweries like Trillium in Boston every weekend and loading up. That’s money that could be staying in Connecticut.”
Besides Massachusetts, New York also has no limit on how much craft beer brewers can sell, Kraszewski told the committee.
Kraszewski told the General Law Committee that current law ties the hands of the craft beer business in Connecticut.
“Imagine being a bread baker and then just being able to sell one loaf of bread,” he said.
Kraszewski’s testimony was backed up by Precious Putnam, who is co-owner of Beer’d Brewing Company in Stonington along with her husband.
“I’m really worried that Rhode Island will be the next state to jump on board with the no limit,” said Putnam, noting that her brewery is only a half-hour drive from the Rhode Island state line.
Legislators on the committee noted that there is no limit on how much craft beer brewers can sell in package stores or restaurants, but Kraszewski countered that there is much competition at those locations while craft breweries have a captive audience.
Several other brewers submitted oral and written testimony in support of the legislation.
Those included testimony from George Metzger, whose son works for Beer’d Brewing.
“As the brewery and revenue grew, he was made full-time a couple years ago and simply loves his job,” Metzger said. “Beer’d Brewing is currently building a brand new facility in Groton that will increase their production by 100 percent.”
Metzger told the committee: “State laws should be fair and enable Connecticut companies to fully promote and sell their products to their customers. I feel that the 9 liters retail limit is grossly handcuffing our local breweries.”