If you’ve wanted to taste craft beer from different New Hampshire microbreweries and haven’t been able to because the breweries were inaccessible to you, we’ve got good news for you. With the House Bill 275, you may now be able to purchase and enjoy high quality beer readily from State Liquor Stores.
According to Patch.com, a new pilot program will be created that will allow beer made by NH-based microbreweries and nanobreweries to be sold in two NH State Liquor Stores – one in Hampton on I-95 and another on Hooksett on I-93.
New Hampshire Politicians Battle Over Beer:
State Senator Martha Fuller Clark, D-Portsmouth (who is one of the bill’s sponsors), said the main purpose behind the bill is to attract out of state customers who usually buy their beer from state liquor stores.
This will help popularize the variety of home-grown beers available in New Hampshire and promote the various macro and nanobreweries that have been trying to get a bite of the local market by helping them showcase their product to a larger audience.
The Bill 275 not only encourages the sale of craft beer brewed in-state alone, it also allows all kinds of beer to be sold in State Liquor Stores. This could result in the State Liquor Stores capturing a large portion of the market by selling craft beer and may also lead to the introduction of beer from national breweries which would result in cut throat competition for supermarkets and grocery stores that sell beer.
Great News For Microbreweries:
While the bill being passed can certainly mean good news for microbreweries, there are also a lot of drawbacks. There are many people who are opposing the bill for their own reasons.
The New Hampshire newspaper, The Union Leader, shows the bill has had active resistance from New Hampshire Grocers Association President John Dumais.
According to John Dumais, if the NH craft beers gain popularity in the liquor stores, the stores may begin selling National Beers which in turn could hurt sales of beer at supermarkets and grocery stores.
Fuller Clark disagreed to John Dumais’s comments by responding that the bill if passed will only help local breweries tap into a wider portion of the market that consists of people who don’t already purchase their beer from local stores and groceries.
The NH Liquor Commission has also pointed out some disadvantages of having the bill passed. The state’s liquor revenue mainly comes from the sale of wine and spirits which produce about 40-55% and 47-50% of the total revenues respectively.
Beer on the other hand brings in only 10-20% revenue for the state. By allocating more shelf-space to NH-made craft beers and cutting down on some wines and spirits, the state could lose out on its revenue significantly.
Mixed Reactions From Some Brewers:
David Currier who heads the new start up Henniker Brewing has mixed emotions about the bill. According to Currier, the passing of the bill would mean that their products are sold at more places which in turn would result in increased revenues. On the other hand, it can also lead to groceries and local stores losing out on a lot of customers to whom customers mainly come because they sell local beer.
There’s also another bill that could really drive the growth of nanobreweries. Currently, nano breweries are not allowed to sell more than four ounces of a label to a customer. The House Bill 253 if passed would remove the limit and allow these nanobreweries to sell more beer to their customers.