Pharos-Tribune

Local News

February 17, 2013

State may loosen rules for micro-distilleries

Bill could help small entrepreneurs capitalize on growing demand for ‘locally grown’ drink.

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana General Assembly isn’t ready to let Hoosiers buy booze at a grocery store on Sundays, but lawmakers may be willing to loosen up the state’s tight alcohol laws for artisans who craft beer, wine and spirits.

Legislation to allow Sunday sales of carryout alcohol from retail stores died in the House last week. But several other alcohol-related bills are making their way through the legislature, all aimed at helping small entrepreneurs capitalize on the growing demand for “locally grown” drink.

They include a bill that would allow farm wineries to sell their products directly to retailers and a bill that would let the makers of craft beers sell their products at farmer’s markets and trade shows.

There’s also legislation aimed at relaxing Indiana liquor laws to allow the creation of micro-distilleries that would specialize in producing small batches of bourbons, whiskey, vodkas and gins.

Following the model of farm wineries and microbreweries that have sprung up around the state, visitors to the micro-distilleries would be able to sample the product or buy it by the glass or bottle.

Backers of the bill see it a tool for tourism and economic development, and cite the success of neighboring states that allow small distilleries to sell their product on site. In Indiana, the handful of distilleries that now exist can only produce hard liquor for wholesale distribution to retailers.

“This is an industry whose potential for growth is greatly limited by statute here in Indiana,” said Rep. Ed Clere, a New Albany Republican who authored what’s known as the “artisan distillery” bill.

Clere’s legislation passed out of the House with a big margin of votes, after it cleared the House public policy committee where the Sunday alcohol-sales bill died last week.

The committee’s conservative Republican chairman, Rep. Bill Davis of Jay County, had blocked Clere’s bill in past sessions by refusing to hold a hearing on it. This time around, Davis let the bill get through, even though he voted against it.

Davis said the limits built into the bill helped changed his mind. The bill restricts distilleries to selling 10,000 gallons of alcohol a year, and to making the product locally. It also allows permits to be issued only if the applicant has been operating a winery or brewery for at least three years. Other applicants would have to apply for a distillery permit and then wait three years.

“We’re not talking about a big expansion of liquor-making in Indiana,” Davis said. “We’re talking about small operations, many of them family-owned, with very limited production capacity.”

Ted Huber, whose family operates Huber’s Orchard, Vineyard and Winery on a 600-acre farm in Starlight, is already distilling small batches of brandy, made from fruit grown on his farm. He’s ready to expand into hard spirits, including whiskey that could be made with Indiana-grown corn.

“The whole micro-distillery movement is progressing fast around the U.S.,” Huber said. “There is a huge demand for high-end, hand-crafted, small-batch spirits.”

The artisan distillery bill may have the legs to get through the Senate. Its sponsors include Sen. Jim Banks of Columbia City and a fellow Republican, Senate Public Policy Committee Chairman Ron Alting of Lafayette.

Banks is also author of a bill that’s already passed the Senate that would let microbreweries sell bottles and growlers of beer at farmer’s markets and trade shows. He’s seen the number of microbreweries grow to more than 60 in Indiana, creating more than 1,000 jobs along the way.

He sees the same potential for the micro-distilleries: Locally grown businesses started by job-creating entrepreneurs. “These are the type of businesses we want to support,” Banks said.

Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com.

For more on this story and other local news, subscribe to The Pharos-Tribune eEdition, or our print edition

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • NWS-PT072814 McKinley Mortar Work on Logansport senior-living facility continues The transformation of a building on Logansport’s north side that formerly accommodated children is expected to be complete this fall, when it will start catering to those on the other end of life’s timeline.Indianapolis-based Crestline Communities ha

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • History, carnival set for Delphi DELPHI — One hundred and fifty-nine years ago, the founders of Carroll County gathered together to catch up and connect, as it was one of the only ways to do so back in 1885.Referred to as the Carroll County Old Settlers’ Meeting, it still lives on t

    July 28, 2014

  • Eric Peters Veteran on cross- country mission PERU — Eric Peters is on a 2,700-mile mission.As a 23-year-old Army veteran who served in Afghanistan, Peters is used to missions. But this one is personal.Thirty-five days ago, he started a cross-country trek from his home in Clark, New Jersey, that

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Purdue corn specialist: Cool weather's effect on crop could differ from 2009 WEST LAFAYETTE — The next two months will determine whether the Indiana corn crop produces high yields as expected or is significantly damaged by any unforeseen, drastic changes in weather and diseases, Purdue Extension corn specialist Bob Nielsen sa

    July 28, 2014

  • Late-season herbicide may be ineffective, scientist says WEST LAFAYETTE — For farmers seeing weeds in their crop fields this late in the growing season, hand-rouging and pulling them by hand may be the best way to remove them, more so than using a herbicide, a Purdue Extension weed scientist says.“The majo

    July 28, 2014

  • NWS-PT072714 - manhunt deputy - MLK Manhunt: Law enforcement capture State Hospital escapee BURROWS — An inmate who reportedly escaped from the Logansport State Hospital Thursday evening was apprehended in Carroll County late Friday morning.Jim Gavin, director of communications and media at the Indiana Family and Social Services Administrat

    July 27, 2014 4 Photos

  • Sports briefs for Sunday, July 27 Sports BriefsKizer helps Feverrally to beat StarsSAN ANTONIO (AP) — Lynetta Kizer scored 16 points and the Indiana Fever dominated the fourth quarter in rallying for a 75-68 victory over the San Antonio Stars on Saturday night.Shavonte Zellous added

    July 27, 2014

  • NWS-PT072714 Gregory Konrath mugshot Trial set for man accused of plotting murder PERU — An orthopedic surgeon at Dukes Memorial Hospital who is accused of plotting to murder his ex-wife and make it look like a suicide is set to face a jury trial.In Miami County Circuit Court Thursday, Gregory Konrath, 48, was scheduled to face tr

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cass Co. United Way to move offices Cass County’s United Way office is moving Sept. 1 to Cass City Center from its current location a block away, in the corner of the Security Federal Savings Bank building in downtown Logansport.“The United Way has appreciated the generous agreement wi

    July 27, 2014

  • NWS-PT072714 - wagoner mug [Duplicate] Former Kokomo doctor to forfeit $1.2 million KOKOMO — Former Kokomo doctor Donald Wagoner, who recently was convicted and sentenced for over-prescribing pain medication, has agreed to pay $1.2 million as settlement in a civil suit brought by the Howard County Prosecutor’s Office.Prosecutor Mark

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
More pharostribune.com
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP Video
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Poll

Should grocery and convenience stores be allowed to sell cold beer?

Yes
No
Unsure
     View Results
eEdition