HYANNIS, MA — The recent advisory issued by the ABCC will have a major impact on Cape Cod Beer. Given that this advisory came up suddenly and with little warning, we are still trying to understand the ramifications and impact that it will have on our business and alternative licensing options available to us.
We are active members of the Massachusetts Brewers Guild, who is working diligently to resolve this issue. The MBG has a meeting scheduled next week with the State Treasurer, so hopefully we will learn more then. We have also been in touch with Senator Dan Wolf’s office and with our local chamber offices.
Our initial estimates are that the change in the requirements for a farmer brewery license will force us to move to manufacturers and wholesalers licenses. This comes at a 4300% increase in fees due to the state, from our current $22 per year to $9,500 per year. This combination of licenses will allow us to continue to self distribute our product. Self-distribution rights are one of several areas of concern for small brewers in the state. This combination of new licenses though will not allow us to sell beer at the retail level. As far as we can interpret, under the current laws, there is no combination of licenses that will allow us to continue to operate our retail visitor’s center. Loss of our visitor’s center will result in a loss of over 1/3 of our annual revenue and more than likely 4 or 5 employees.
Since our move to our new location in 2006, we have worked diligently to make Cape Cod Beer a destination brewery. We estimate that over 50,000 people come to the brewery each year for tours, tastings and to purchase retail items. We carry one of the largest varieties of products made on Cape Cod in our visitor center, supporting over 50 local Cape Cod businesses. In 2010 seventy-five cents of every dollar we spent on retail goods was spent with local Cape Cod businesses, so this advisory not only affects us, it affects our whole business community.
We are in a holding pattern right now, waiting for the results of the meeting to be held next week. In the meantime, given that it is the first week of August, which is historically one of our busiest weeks of the year, we are trying to stay focused on making and delivering fresh local beer, and providing the best experience possible for visitors who have sought us out!
The above statement is in response to recent requests for input in regards to AP article titled: “Mass. breweries threatened by proposed new rule.