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 Kulik
Senator 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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