Legislation Introduced to Allow Maine Brewpubs to Sell Growlers

There is a bill currently making its way through the Maine state legislature which would finally allow brewpubs in the state to offer their beer to patrons in 64oz Growlers. According to the Bangor Daily News,

Backers of the measure claim making it easier for brew pubs to sell growlers on site will help support a small but growing Maine industry that is developing a national reputation for quality, thanks in large part to beer-loving tourists.

“There is nothing better than going to a place where you’ve never been before, sampling some of their delicious brews and saying, ‘Hey, I’d like to bring some of this home with me,’” Rep. Benjamin Marriner Pratt, D-Eddington, told members of the Legal and Veterans Affairs Committee recently.

Sponsor Rep. Nancy Smith, D-Monmouth, said her growler bill supports the growing “buy local” movement in Maine and aims to give another boost to small businesses.

While Maine brewpubs can already technically sell their own growlers, they must do so from a “second enterance”, i.e. either a separate (and often costly) storefront — think the Portland Gritty’s location — or the bar’s back door; an idea many publicans are uncomfortable with, needless to say. However the bill, LD 904, which won unanimous support from the committee this week, would allow bartenders to fill and sell growlers directly from the tap. Again, according to the Bangor Daily News — Geoff Houghton, owner of the popular Hallowell brew pub The Liberal Cup and Saco’s Run of the Mill,

…Told committee members that the most common question he gets from customers is why they can’t lug a jug of his beer back home.

“People are used to being able to get growlers in other states, so it’s a tough question for me to answer,” he said.

LD 904 comes with a bit of extra legislation, however, but it’s a piece that I actually think is a pretty nifty idea to help ensure responsible consumption. At the recommendation of the Legal and Veterans Affairs Committee, the bill would require bartenders to seal the growlers after filling them as a way for police officers to tell whether the growler was tapped into before reaching its destination.

A caveat which was put into place to quiet some naysayers in the legislature who claim that growler sales would increase the likelihood of drunk driving accidents (this of course in the state where you can buy beer & wine at an all-night Wal*Mart or gas station well after our way-too-early last call. But that’s a different gripe for a different post).

Here’s wishing LD 904 a swift and painless trip through the state house; I want me some growlers!

[image by mrjoro]

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