Senator Witkos Hails Senate Passage of Senate Bill 647

May 31, 2019

 Hartford, CT – Senator Kevin Witkos (R-Canton) has hailed the passage of Senate Bill 647 An Act Streamlining the Liquor Control Act.  


The bill, proposed by Senator Witkos, aims to update and modernize the Liquor Control Act for the first time since the fall of Prohibition.


“Over the past several years, Connecticut has seen tremendous growth of craft breweries, wineries, and distilleries.  Not only are these businesses contributing heavily to our economy, their presence serves as a tourist destination for residents and guests from around Connecticut and out of state.  That being said, the laws on our books were unfortunately outdated and had not kept up with the advancement of this industry” said Senator Witkos.


Senator Witkos added, “Through the hard work and collaboration of the craft brewing industry, wineries, distilleries, distributors, wholesalers the Department of Consumer Protection and more, we have produced a bill which has been designed to improve the business environment for this industry.   I am proud of the work that has been accomplished thus far and greatly appreciate the work of these groups”


The bi-partisan supported bill was introduced by Senator Witkos at the beginning of the legislative session which convened in January.   It was approved by the Senate on a vote of 35-1 and now heads to the House of Representatives.


According to recent data from the Connecticut Brewers Guild, since 2012 the number of jobs in the craft beer industry have grown from 650 to 5000; a 669% increase.  During that same time period, the economic impact has jumped from $132M to $745M.


Among other things, Senate Bill 647 does the following:


  1. consolidates nine manufacturer permits into three, including (a) limiting manufacturer permittees to producing spirits; (b) consolidating four beer permits into one; and (c) creating a new wine, cider, and mead permit with requirements and abilities substantially similar to a farm winery permittee (§§ 2 & 3);
  2. requires a manufacturer permittee for beer to pay excise tax for beer sold for on-premises consumption for amounts over 15 barrels (§ 1);
  3. allows wholesalers to sell non-uniform cases of alcoholic liquor (e.g., spirits, wine, and beer) with prior approval from the manufacturer or out-of-state shipper (§§ 2, 6 & 7);
  4. allows gift basket retailer permittees to sell Connecticut beer in their gift baskets (§§ 4 & 5);