In June, New Hampshire Governor John Lynch signed House Bill 1241, which allowed New Hampshire craft brewers to include ingredients like molasses, maple syrup, honey, spices, herbs, fruits, nuts, chocolate, vanilla, or other “non-beverage” ingredients. With the new law in place, craft brewers throughout the state can continue to explore innovative, high strength offerings without the risk of penalty.
The Craft Brew Alliance, which owns Redhook, was the driving force behind the bill’s passage.
“It really tied our hands with what we could do,” said Andy Thomas the president of the CBA. “As a national brewery, there were beers that we could brew in Oregon or Washington but not in New Hampshire. The Northeast [and East Coast in general] are expansion and growth markets for us. This now gives us more flexibility with how we use the brewery in Portsmouth.”
As part of the Craft Brew Alliance portfolio, Redhook regularly brews both Widmer and Kona beers (also CBA brands) at the brewery location in Portsmouth. However, because of the old restrictions, some styles like the Widmer Rotator IPA Series which contains spices, fruit and teas couldn’t be made on the East Coast.
New Hampshire Liquor Commission Director Eddie Edwards said the new bill allows regulators to more clearly determine what an alcoholic beverage is trying to be.
“We just wanted to clear the platform so that it was made very clear to people what they could produce,” he said. “Does it look and taste like a beer? Does it have the same consistency as a beer? If it doesn’t change the fundamental product, why shouldn’t you be allowed to produce it?”