Maine legislature is currently looking at two bills concerning craft beer. One in regards to increasing the number of “alternating proprietors” allowed at an existing brewery and the other concern regulating serving containers.
An Act To Strengthen the Craft Beer Industry is a bill sponsored by Senator Justin Alfond. This bill concerns “alternating proprietors” at an existing brewery. Currently the Maine law states that a brewery may “host” one other brewer as an alternating proprietor, the amendment would increase that number from One to Nine, Federally there is no max number.
Alternating proprietorship at a brewery is a means of brewing and selling beer without owning a brewery. A licensed and bonded brewer can lease space at an existing brewery and utilize their brewing and packaging equipment. The “Tenant” brewer is on premise brewing the beer themselves and are responsible for all documentation, label approvals, taxes, insurance and everything else that goes along with the brewing process they simply would not own a brewery, an example of this in Maine is Peak Organic who is hosted by Shipyard Brewing Company. This is different from “Contract Brewing” in which a brewery is paid to brew for another brand and the owner of that brand is not involved in the actual brewing and packaging of the beer.
This alternating proprietor method of brewing is enticing for a brewer who cannot build a facility or is new to the market and wants to develop a brand and work towards building their own brewery. This is also an avenue for an existing brewery with a small production capacity to lease space on larger equipment to boost their volume instead of investing in a brewery expansion, or even to keep the beer flowing during a large scale expansion.
This is a good amendment for Maine beer, allowing an existing brewery to increase production and potentially new brewers to enter the market. It’s also a win for larger breweries who may encounter slow spots in production, the ability to take on a few AP brewers keep their equipment operational and money flowing. While nine seems like a high number it keeps this law from requiring further amendments and potentially creates a backup plan for a brewery, if for some reason production needed to stop this would allow them to keep cash flowing and the equipment running even if it wasn’t their product in the tanks.
An Act To Standardize Pints of Beer Sold in Maine is a bill sponsored by Senator John L. Patrick.
The title of the bill is pretty straight forward, it is intended to ensure that when you purchase a pint of beer at a restaurant or bar you are actually getting a container that holds 16 ounces. This bill has been referred to the Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs and will have a public hearing on February 11, 2015 in State House room 437.