Bill would ditch barriers for minors at small wineries

February 20, 2017

Indiana lawmakers are considering doing away with a requirement that small wineries put up barriers to keep minors away from areas where alcohol is served.

A bill before the Indiana Legislature would make several changes to state laws regulating alcohol, the News and Tribune reported. One amendment, written by Republican Rep. Ed Clere of New Albany, would remove barriers between minors and areas where alcohol is served in artisan distilleries and farm wineries. That would put small wineries in the same category as boats and bowling alleys, where minors can be present where alcohol is served.

The barriers weren't required less than a year ago. That's because the Indiana Alcohol & Tobacco Commission has since reinterpreted one of its statutes.

Ted Huber, presidents of Huber's Orchard and Winery in Borden, said the barriers are causing problems for his customers with children.

"They have to leave their children behind those lines to go up and buy their glass of wine," Huber said.

Huber said his winery is family friendly because it doesn't have a "bar atmosphere" and its alcohol service is "very structured."

Another of Clere's amendments would clear up language in Indiana law that allows alcohol to be served throughout the grounds of small wineries instead of just in bar areas.

Other proposals include allowing hard cider to be manufactured under a brewer's permit instead of a winery permit. This would benefit local entrepreneur

Matt McMahan, who owns Big Four Burgers and Beer and who is working on opening a cider bar.

The House's public policy committee is scheduled to vote on the bill Tuesday.


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