Photo of Senator Cohen.

State Senator

Christine Cohen

Representing Branford, Durham, Guilford, Killingworth, Madison & North Branford

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Connecticut Farm Bureau, Bishop's Orchards, Support Cohen's Cider Bill

GUILFORD, CT—Today, the Connecticut Farm Bureau and Bishop’s Orchards gave their support to State Senator Christine Cohen’s (D-Guilford) bill which will allow holders of a manufacturers permit for cider to sell apple wine and hard cider by the glass and bottle and also to sell and serve food on the permitted premises.

“This bill proposal will allow Bishop's Orchards, as well as other cideries, the opportunity to not only manufacture hard cider, but also have the option of selling by the glass,” said Sen. Cohen. “We have breweries across the state conducting business in this manner and shouldn't prevent sales for cider. I'm happy to help by introducing legislation that will promote commerce in the 12th district and the State of Connecticut.”

If enacted, Senate Bill No. 539 “AN ACT CONCERNING THE SALE OF CIDER AND FOOD BY HOLDERS OF A MANUFACTURER PERMIT FOR CIDER,” will create economic opportunities for businesses like Bishop’s Orchards, according to co-owner and winemaker Keith Bishop. He said Sen. Cohen has been an ardent supporter of local businesses.

“This legislation will give us a better opportunity to serve more customers and make us a more attractive destination for consumers,” said Bishop. “I thank Sen. Cohen for her leadership and attentiveness to her community and ask that all other legislators follow her lead in supporting this proposal. Sen. Cohen knows that Bishop's stewardship of over 200 acres of crops is important to our town, and direct sales to the public of our crops are important to our economic sustenance. All of the wines and hard ciders we make are from fruit we grow on our farm.”

Sen. Cohen reiterated the importance of supporting local business and said with the growing popularity of hard ciders and apple wines, passing this legislation will help similar businesses across the state

“Helping businesses succeed is vital to a healthy economy,” said Sen. Cohen. “I was made aware that our current laws were creating significant encumbrances preventing Bishops from expanding upon their business plan. They were rightfully exploring opportunities to expand with market changes based upon a product they were manufacturing—hard cider. Yet, because of an antiquated statute that perhaps didn't have the foresight that hard cider would become popular, Bishops was unable to sell in a certain manner.”

Connecticut Farm Bureau Executive Director Bryan Hurlburt said he fully supports this legislation. He said Sen. Cohen’s efforts are consistent with, and supportive of, the Connecticut Farm Bureau’s agenda and will best serve the economic and agricultural health of the state and 12th District.

“Creating more opportunities for all local producers of cider is a Connecticut Farm Bureau priority for this legislative session,” said Hurlburt. “We know that consumers are demanding more access to locally grown, and produced, ciders; and this will help this new market grow and thrive—supporting farms with a better value-added opportunity across the state. We thank Sen. Cohen for proposing this bill and will work to ensure that all legislators understand the importance of this proposal and what it means for Connecticut farmers.”

On January 24, Senate Bill No. 539 was referred to the General Law Committee to determine if the proposed legislation will advance in the legislative process. It has been included to legislation concerning the Liquor Control Act and will have a public hearing on February 28.

About Christine Cohen: Sen. Cohen was first elected in 2018 to represent the 12th Senate District which consists of Branford, Durham, Guilford, Killingworth, Madison and North Branford. Christine is a small business owner; the proud owner of Cohen’s Bagel Company.

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