On Monday, the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission denied a farmer-brewery license for the planned Idle Hands Craft Ales brewery in Everett. The next day the commission issued an advisory about how those licenses, used by nearly every brewery in the state, will be issued.
"The basic issue is that you have a whole bunch of breweries that will have to change how they are operated," said Ipswich Ale Brewery President Rob Martin, who is also president of the Massachusetts Brewers Guild.....
A small brewery producing 600 barrels of beer (roughly 18,600 gallons) would need a 20-acre farm to grow enough barley to qualify for the license. It would also take three or four years before hop plants are mature enough to use in beer, Martin said.
"It's really a difficult problem," he said. "I think the edict was put out there before all of the nuts and bolts were looked at to see if they actually make sense."
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