I truly feel regionalized products will have an edge in a shopping experience that increasingly favors cheap, mass produced, online and easy. Beer will be no different. MillerCoors is ready to restock your fridge in an hour with the simple push of a button, and that might as well be beer for robots. With more than 5,300 breweries operating in the United States with exactly one zillion unique brands on the shelves, product differentiation (along with quality) will be imperative to compete with cheap, mass produced, online and easy. Brands that can share a compelling backstory are going to succeed, and what story is better than local — born here, proud of it, support our neighbors, fight for the environment, make tasty suds too.
Bill 5928 seeks to give Connecticut farms a unique sort of regionalized edge. The bill, which just passed the Connecticut House of Representatives last week, is aimed at promoting the growing of hops and barley in Connecticut by creating a farm brewery manufacturer permit. The House voted unanimously last Wednesday for a bill authorizing farmers to bottle and sell up to 50,000 gallons of beer that they brew on their farms annually. The beer may even be advertised and sold as “Connecticut Craft Beer” if at least 25 percent of their beer’s ingredients are grown in the state. That’s pretty cool, right?
But here’s a suggestion: Why not let any craft brewery in the state market the term Connecticut Craft Beer if they use 25 percent of their ingredients from in-state growers?
We quote the Connecticut Post:
[Also] Brewers would be able to sell individual consumers up to 7 liters each at farmer’s markets.
Rep. Richard A. Smith, R-New Fairfield, ranking member of the legislative General Law Committee, which recommended the bill, recalled the state’s long agricultural history, then quipped: “This is a good beer and I urge my colleagues to support it.”
NOW, I don’t know if that’s a typo — “good beer” vs. “good bill” — but it’s a great Freudian slip either way. Brands with Connecticut Craft Beer should feel bonafide when sitting on the shelf next to out-of-state competitors, and we love the idea of supporting regionally-grown products. Other states should take notice.