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New Law Will Allow Beer Brewers To Sell At Farmers Markets In Norwalk

One of Compo Hill Brewery's locally brewed, award-winning beers.
One of Compo Hill Brewery's locally brewed, award-winning beers. Photo Credit: File

NORWALK, Conn. — Connecticut’s burgeoning small brewers will have a new way to promote their beer thanks to legislation shepherded into law by Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-Norwalk/Darien). 

The law will, for the first time, allow permitted brewers to sell beer at Connecticut’s farmers markets.

“Small breweries are community-driven enterprises that rely on local support to grow business,” said Duff in a press release. “Whether they’re microbreweries, nanobreweries, or simply individual home brewers, this law will help brewers build new relationships in their local communities and in communities across the state. This is a win for small business and consumers alike.”

The idea for the law was first brought to Duff’s attention by Philip Meese, a Norwalk home-brewer and craft beer enthusiast. Meese had been pursuing the idea because he saw neighboring states allowing the sale of local beer at farmers markets.

Meese’s primary goal was to promote Connecticut’s small, artisanal brewers who typically produce small-batch, hand-crafted beer with a singular focus on quality, according to a press release. These brewers often work in unusual styles of beer that larger brewers don't have the flexibility to produce.

“This proposal supports Connecticut business growth by giving emerging brewers an important way to connect with customers and bootstrap sales. It also benefits the growing movement of Connecticut ‘locavores’ looking for locally produced food and beverage,” said Meese in a press release. “I had been pursuing this legislation for three years before I spoke with Bob Duff this past February, and Bob got it done in four months.” 

States with similar laws include Vermont, New Hampshire, New York and Pennsylvania. 

Connecticut’s law allows permitted beer manufacturers to apply for a farmers' market beer sales permit that enables them to sell beer at up to three market locations a year for an unlimited number of appearances.

To sell beer at a market, the permittee must have an invitation, may sell only sealed bottles for off-premises consumption, and must be present or have an authorized representative present anytime beer is sold.

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