'He that drinks his cyder alone, let him catch his horse alone.'
23 Dec. 2014 - Here is a letter we sent our reps. regarding a situation we are facing, you can help MA farm wineries and cideries by contacting your State Senators and Representatives, Thanks!
Rep. Steve Kulick
Senator Ben Ben Downing
We are a small orchard and hard cider producer in Ashfield. We are writing you concerning recent changes to some of the States liquor laws, in particular to the Ch 138, Sec 19F Direct Wine Shipper license. As you may know, Massachusetts has had a complicated time in trying to figure out how to regulate distribution and shipping of wine (etc) in the state. We have a Farm Winery License (Ch138, 19B), this allows us to manufacture wine (cider) and sell only through a wholesaler, no self distribution. The way to self distribution for small manufacturers for years has been to get a Wine Shipment license ( Ch 138, Sec 19F), this allowed us to sell directly to retailers (package stores, etc) and restaurants without having to go through a wholesaler. It came to out attention that changes were made to the 19F license and after a phone call with the ABCC’s director, Ralph Sacramone, he verified to us that possibility for us to self distribute was removed from the updated legislation. The 19F will now be about just shipping (mailing) wine.
Self distribution is critical to the success of Massachusetts small cideries and wineries as it allows us the ability to work closely with those who carry our products, and the flexibility to get other small businesses our products as they need them. We also keep more money in our own pockets (30% +). For wineries (cideries) of our scale it is often hard to even find a distributor who is willing to work with us.
As of Jan. 1st we will no longer be able to self distribute and our business will come to a standstill until something changes. We are asking you to do what ever you can to remedy this situation. A good model as a basis for change to the 19B Farm Winery License would be to look at the Farm Brewery License which allows self distribution, etc under one license.
Thank you for your attention to this,
Steven Gougeon and Jennifer Williams
Bear Swamp Orchard & Cidery
Jennifer Williams & Steve Gougeon
1209 B Hawley Rd Ashfield, MA 01330
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Featured in the Greenfield Recorder, “Cider Days Celebrate, Bolster Resurgent Tradition”
Featured in the Sunday Boston Globe, “Cider Houses Rule in New England”
We might be done at the orchard for the season, but you can still call ahead and stop by to pick up some cider for the holidays, or check in with the great local retailers who carry our ciders. Again, thanks for a great season!
Starting in May 2015 we will have regular tasting room hours, stay tuned!
Our Organic Hard Cider available at:
We are a small Certified Organic orchard and hard cider producer in Ashfield Massachusetts (Directions). We are growing apples with a holistic bent, taking into account the health of the flora and fauna as part of the orchard system, staying away from the use of broad spectrum pesticides. From September to mid October we have hard cider and tastings as well as apples available for pick your own and ready pick with different varieties that are ready at different times throughout our fall season.
Some of what we offer- all products are certified organic:
We are continuing to develop our sustainable orchard management practices, which go beyond organic pest-control methods to include attention to ecological cycles in the orchard. Orchard management of this type is still in its infancy and it involves a lot of experimenting, and trial and error. Weather and yearly pest pressure varies greatly and will affect fruit quantity and quality.
We are a new and growing orchard; we appreciate your patience and suggestions as we grow.
You can also check out our CISA/Buy local food listing,
Thanks for your interest and please contact us with any questions, comments or suggestions.
Jen, Steve, Aidan and Elliot
email — email@example.com
Making all our living at organic farming? Not yet, check out one of our other day jobs Apple Valley Woodworking.