Vermont recently made headlines when an article from the Burlington Free Press announced that the House of Representatives is proposing a new bill that encourages Vermont farm-grown beer into the state’s already expansive craft beer scene. The new bill would allow for local Vermont farmers to acquire a new farm brewer’s license that would encourage them to brew beer on premise while incorporating at least one ingredient, that has been grown on their farm.
The article states that “The farm beer would need to include at least 20 percent local hops and at least 30 percent other local ingredients, not including water, to be considered ‘Vermont Beer’ under a new legal definition,” says the Free Press. The bill could also generate licenses for Vermont wine and cider makers, if they too, incorporate local ingredients into their products. With this new bill, the farmers could also offer to host special events, tastings, and acquire permits, to help serve and sell their specific products to consumers.
The bill is currently in the initial stages of creation, and some Vermont brewers are concerned about the bill’s stern meaning of the term Vermont beer. Kurt Stauder who is president of the “Vermont Brewers Association states that “It’s very early, I understand the aims and I find them to be admirable, but I do have some concerns…I think that the big point that is sticking with some if the brewers is the definition of Vermont beer.” It could also bring more revenue to the state, and encourage Vermont farmers to grow more hops, grain and malts.
House Representative Bill Botzow says that “he modeled the farm brewer’s bill after a similar law in New York that took effect in 2013. The Bennington County Industrial Corporation suggested that New York had a competitive advantage in recruiting breweries.” He goes on to say that the new bill “would stimulate an emerging part of Vermont’s economy and promote diversified agriculture and agrotourism.”
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