[Updated 7.7, with new info from Proclamation and Tilted Barn.]
Yep, it’s official! You can uncross those fingers!! On Tuesday [6.28], Governor Gina Raimondo signed House Bill 8100 Substitute B and Senate Bill 3053 Substitute A which, as you certainly must know by now, will allow breweries to sell 288 ounces of beer for off-premise consumption [in any combo of growlers, bottles, and cans — a significant increase from the former 72-ounce limit] and sell 36 ounces in-house, and the state’s distilleries to sell spirits [750ml to-go and 4.5 on-site]. [Scroll down to read the thousands of posts we’ve made charting the bill’s progress; and click here to read “Growlers and beyond: raising the beer bar in Rhode Island”; this is the final time that we’ll link to it, honest!].
A few Rhody brewers exulted in the netosphere. Proclamation Ale Company said: “Thanks to all the reps, senators, officials, industry people, customers, loudmouthed individuals, dogs, cats etc etc… Governor Raimondo signed [the] bill… Awesome day. 6/28/16 Never Forget. #cheers.” Tilted Barn tweeted: “Signed, sealed, delivered by @GinaRaimondo. 100% official my friends. Great times ahead in Little Rhody.”
We’ve been badgering all of the Rhody brewers to find out how the new law would immediately impact their establishments. Three  of them responded; the post will be updated if/when more intel trickles in. OK, let’s roll the words from Our Favorite B&C Correspondents!
Nick Garrison, prez/founder of Foolproof Brewing Company: “We’re working on updating the changes to our taproom policies. Nothing is set in stone yet, but here’s what we are considering: With the arrival of new glassware, we plan to offer a standard ‘tasting’ of four 4-oz. samples of any beers on tap at the brewery. We also plan to offer a ‘pay by the glass’ option, with pricing tiers based on the styles of beer. As for hours and days of operation, we will maintain our current schedule [Friday 4-7 pm, Saturday + Sunday 1-6] and will decide soon if we want to open up on additional days. If visitors come to Foolproof outside of our regular public hours to buy take-home beer, we will do our best to accommodate them. We do not plan to sell beer by the glass to walk-ins, however, unless we have extra staff on hand to man the bar. Finally, the sell-by-the-glass option gives us a lot more flexibility in offering private events/tastings here at the brewery. As such, we are reviewing our current structure for private events.”
Brett Ryan, co-founder of Newport Storm: “We will likely expand how much people can leave our place with almost immediately. This will also include expanding what’s available to our 750ml bottles of spirits [Thomas Tew Rum]. That said, we will continue to encourage local buyer to use the [retail stores] for their purchases as we aren’t really set up as a ‘store.’ The on-premise component will be more challenging. The 36-oz. limit is cause for us to evaluate what we would be able to invest in this type of activity. Insurance, POS [point of sale] systems, seating, and space are all things that would need to be addressed if we were to offer sales for on-premise consumption. At our busiest times, our Visitors Center is already at capacity, so we would need to make some changes in order to accommodate this additional activity. We may test out the feasibility with events at first.”
Nate Broomfield, prez of Bucket Brewery: “We’re celebrating the new law tomorrow [Thursday, 6.30] with pizza and giveaways from 5-10 pm. Our new hours and events: Thursdays 5-10 pm. Thursdays will soon be ‘Dinner and a Movie’ night with a food truck and a great movie on our new giant screen! Fridays 1-10 pm, Saturdays 11 am-10 pm, Sundays 10 am-3 pm. Sundays will be ‘Brewery Brunch,’ with a nice brunch lineup and the amazing ‘Gose-Mimosa.’ The Thursday and Sunday events will start once I have all the details hammered out, probably late July. Facebook for details. Full new hours may not start until 7/14, as I am away next week [amazing timing] and we are shorthanded until we finish hiring more staff.”
Proclamation Ale Company: “With the passage of bill 8100 Sub B, we are now allowed to pour beers for sale in our tasting room, therefore we will be making some changes to how we do tastings at the brewery. First off, we will not be pouring ‘tastings’ anymore, where we pour samples of 4 or 5 beers on tap. We will now be serving limited 5-oz. ‘flight pours,’ 8-oz. half pints, and very occasionally 12-oz. tulips of our super-low ABV beers (anything 5% and below). Prices for each pour will be designated by beer.
“The most exciting thing about the changes to the laws is it gives us a reason to have special barrel blends and one offs on at the brewery much more (for in-house only, no take home), as well as doing small keg runs of our sour/special releases to have on for pours at the brewery. (Pours of Alpaca? Yes, please.) We will also down the road introduce the ability to purchase some of our cellared beers from past releases for in-house consumption. Exciting.
“These changes will go into effect immediately. And we reserve the right to change the rules at anytime, because, well, we can.”
Tilted Barn Brewery: “We’ll keep this short and sweet and get right to it. Starting this Saturday, July 9 were going back to every Saturday from 1-4. Finally. And! Starting next week (July 15) we’ll be doing Friday nights every week as well. That’s right, Friday nights from 5-8 and Saturday afternoons from 1-4 every week. Construction of the new system was a bit delayed but is back on schedule. Once we finally get everything online we may add another night as well. Stay tuned.
“We’re going to do our best to make sure we have enough beer every Friday and Saturday. We’ve bought a few more two-barrel tanks to bridge the gap until the bigger system comes and we’ve been cranking out batches in preparation. We’re going to hold enough beer back on Friday nights to get through Saturday. So there’s a chance that we may be out of beer for fills late on Fridays, but we’ll make sure to always have multiple beers on for tastings at least. This way we can make sure to have plenty of beer for the busy Saturday crowds. We’ll also keep our social media pages updated if we run out of beer for fills, so check before you come.
“Thanks again for all of your support. Having trouble keeping up with demand is a problem, but a good problem to have. See you at the Barn.”
You can celebrate the new law today — and cart away 288 ounces of fresh beer!! — at Grey Sail [growler station open 4-7 pm; the Tap Room is pouring from 3-8] and Long Live Beerworks [open 4-9 pm]. Click on our handy “Breweries & Brewpubs” links for hours, what’s on tap, and other pertinent data re: the other establishments.
Thanks to all the reps, senators, officials, industry people, customers, loudmouthed individuals, dogs, cats etc etc…oh wait, someone already said that. So, simply: cheers!
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And now, dear readers, we’re going to back away from the B&C desk for a bit. During the hiatus, we’ll be launching a Kickstarter campaign to fund our book about the history of the Genesee Brewing Company. Rochester, NY, here we come! But if we snag some breaking news in the meantime, we’ll certainly break it; our next scheduled post will be on July 14 or 15, when we’ll share the beer list for the Craft Brew Races event, which is at Fort Adams State Park on Saturday, July 16. See ya then!