Enjoying fresh beer from Maine’s breweries and brewpubs at home is about to get a bit easier.
At the end of May, LD 904 - An Act to Permit Brew Pubs to Sell Half-gallon Containers of Malt Liquor, was signed into law by Maine Governor John Baldacci. The new law makes it possible for Maine brew pubs to sell 64 oz. growlers of beer to patrons straight from the tap. The bill was sponsored by Representative Nancy Smith, and made it to the Governor’s desk fairly handily. Barring a highly unlikely people’s veto, the law will go into effect 90 days after the end of the legislative session. That puts growlers into people’s hands sometime early this fall.
The new law is an overdue revamp of Maine’s current law governing growlers. Previously, brewpubs in the state could sell growlers, but it had to be through a “second entrance” like an attached shop or the pub’s back door. Now, bartenders will be able to fill growlers with fresh brews straight from the tap. This should make getting some fresh beer to take home much simpler for Mainers (not to mention tourists), and supports local business and a growing Maine industry. The amendments tacked onto the bill - stopping growler sales after 10 pm and requiring the growlers to be sealed - seem like an elegant solution to curb sampling growlers on the road.
Geoff Houghton, owner of the Run of the Mill and Liberal Cup brewpubs, praised the bill, calling it “an economic stimulus package that is 64 oz. and doesn’t cost the taxpayer a cent.”
Maine has so many great brewpubs, and I can’t wait for beer from The Bag, Bray’s, and The Liberal Cup (among others) to take a place in my fridge next to bottled offerings.