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Mass. Beer Bill Would Give Brewers A Break From New ABCC Rules

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BOSTON (CBS) – While Senators Brown and Kerry are pushing tax relief for craft brewers on the national level, there’s a local pushback against a new Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission rule that many local brewers fear could put them out of business.

State Senator Robert Hedlund has filed legislation to try and protect those jobs and possibly add more.

On Monday, the ABCC ruled that any brewery seeking a Farmer-Brewery license would need to prove that at least 50 percent of the hops used in its beer is grown in the state.

Sen. Hedlund said the move appeared to be an attempt to force small brewers to obtain a more expensive manufacturer’s license, which can cost between $6,000 and $10,000.

“At a time when industries are struggling, forcing small brewers to obtain high cost licenses seems counter-productive,” said Senator Hedlund. “What we should be doing is creating a streamlined licensing process using these low cost licenses as an incentive and actually grow an industry in Massachusetts as opposed to destroying one.”

Hedlund responded by filing a bill that would create a new license for craft brewers.

The new license would cost small breweries as little as $22.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030′s Mark Katic reports


Hedlund hopes the legislation would attract more brewers to the state and create jobs.

Sen. Brown, who attended the annual meeting of the Beer Institute in Boston today, estimated that the beer industry has already created more than 40,000 jobs in the state and $5.5 billion in revenue.

Brown is currently supporting bipartisan legislation to cut the brewery excise tax in half.

“The beer industry is responsible for thousands of good-paying jobs in Massachusetts, and I am proud to be joining this bipartisan legislation that will cut their taxes,” said Sen. Brown. “Bay State brewers led the way in the brewing revolution, and we need to make sure that we provide a favorable business environment so they can continue growing, creating jobs and, last but not least, producing quality beer.”

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