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Microbrews would be available at farmers' markets under bill

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Indiana microbrewers are one step closer to selling their craft beer at local farmers’ markets after a bill passed a Senate committee Wednesday.

Senate Bill 16 will allow Indiana microbrewers to sell their beer at farmers’ markets.

Mark Webb, a lobbyist for the Brewers of Indiana Guild, said he believes the new bill will be a positive for the 78 microbreweries in the state. Webb said he sees Indiana’s microbrewing industry as a strong way to create jobs across the state.

“This bill allows these brewers to reach a greater audience and appeal. Breweries can participate in local community events,” Webb said. “But all of these events are done with a temporary permit and are limited to on-premise consumption only.”

The bill would change that for farmers’ markets. The companies would be allowed to sell their beer by the bottle, case, or growler – a 64-ounce jug – so customers could take it home.

But Webb said the growler supply may be limited because breweries do not want to fill more growlers than they can sell. Supporters said beer tasting will not be permitted due to the family-oriented nature of farmers markets.

A similar bill passed the Senate last year but wasn’t heard in the House. In an attempt to pass the bill this year, its author – Sen. Jim Banks, R-Columbia City – added two new provisions.

The first provision dealt with a mistake made in the first draft of the bill. In the first draft, brewery-pubs, or breweries that also have a restaurant, were not allowed to have an artesian distillery permit in addition to the pub. The artesian distillery permit allows the company to produce spirits as well. The second provision states that a company’s entire brewing process must be completed in Indiana.

By selling their craft beer at local farmers markets, microbreweries – such as Fountain Square Brewery – will be able to sell beer to more people and expand their market. That would replace the informational booth the brewery is accustomed to.

William Webster, a part owner of Fountain Square Brewery, said he sees the bill as a marketing opportunity to expand his business, which has been open for 2-1/2 years.

“Participating in farmers markets allows us to improve our business while being a part of the whole artesian community and nature of the farmers market,” Webster said. Right now, “we are limited in our distribution range. People in northern Indiana want our beer, but can’t purchase it. This is a big opportunity.”

If passed, the bill will affect future microbreweries as well. According to Webb, there are approximately 12 to 15 breweries set to open in 2014.

SB 16 was passed unanimously by the Senate Public Policy Committee.

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  • Quality over quantity
    There are some pretty mediocre brews in Indiana, but I have yet to experience a fully mediocre brewery. Honestly, three Floyd's is good, but even some of their stuff I could take or leave. I don't like most of the main sun king lineup for anything but session beers, but their one off creations they don't package and ship out, range from good to amazing! I miss having DFH available in state, but flat 12 has stepped up with some pretty hard hitting brews to help fill the gap. We don't need another crooked stave or FFF, we need exactly what we're getting, variety, jobs, and a burgeoning craft beer scene! A lot of these other breweries are at the very least getting more people into craft beer, which will over time drive the production of better beers, more local jobs, and a better economy where we're not all feeding INBEV. Progress is slow, but steady, look at how long FFF had been open versus literally every other brewery in Indiana. Just be patient and enjoy tasting progress as it pours forth!
  • Artisan, not artesian
    Hannah, You consistently used the word artesian. This word pertains to water that naturally spurts from an underground aquifer. You meant to use artisanal, which refers to products made in small batches by artisans.
  • Awards
    I stand by my comment. Indiana has an over-abundance of mediocre breweries. Miller Lite has won plenty of medals at GABF too, but you won't find me drinking that either. And have you had anything by Crooked Stave? If not, you should definitely seek them out. People fly in to CO from all over the country for their tappings. 3F is the only brewery in IN that can say the same thing.
  • IN Breweries
    3F is the only one holding it down? You need to get out more or figure out what quality beer is. 3F is great, but look at places like Bier and Sun King and you'll find GABF award winning breweries. Also, Crooked Stave?? That is a random brewery to call out.
    • How generous
      How generous and kind of the Indiana Senate to allow these craftspeople to sell their product where they'd like.
    • More mircobrewers?
      "If passed, the bill will affect future microbreweries as well. According to Webb, there are approximately 12 to 15 breweries set to open in 2014." Just what Indiana needs...more average brewers. Just once I'd love to see someone from IN rise above all the mediocrity and become a Hill Farmstead or a Crooked Stave or a Russian River. At least we have FFF in Munster. The only brewery in IN holding it down. "Participating in farmers markets allows us to improve our business while being a part of the whole artesian community and nature of the farmers market,” Webster said. lol. If you're trying to find new beer customers at a farmer's market, you're doing beer wrong. The beer bubble is about to burst...who will be the first to close?
      • Thank goodness
        Indiana microbrews are really hard to find. I'm thrilled to see another exception being made so I can finally access this treasure trove of internationally-renowned liquid gold.
      • Fade from blue
        Especially on Sundays!

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