State bill could give Nod Hill beer sales a boost

Go into any brewery taproom in the state and you’ll find proprietors faced with the same conundrum — although customers will line up to buy cans and top off growlers with the latest offering on tap, brewery owners are prohibited from selling more than nine liters of brew to a customer on any given day.

“We feel like it’s anti-business, because we have a customer and they want the product, but it’s like an arbitrary limit,” said David Kaye, who opened Nod Hill Brewery with his father, Robert Kaye, last October.

For the Nod Hill brewers, that limit translates to a maximum of 19 pint-size cans — less than a full case of 24 — or four and a half 64 oz. refillable beer growlers. Because the brewery sells cans only in packs of four, they cap sales at 16 cans per customer, Kaye said. The limit also prevents them from selling kegs, which some people use for home bar setups, though occasionally they will sell kegs to a liquor store in order to skirt the limit.

A bill currently before the state legislature could potentially raise or eliminate that limit. The language adjusting the sales cap was added by state Rep. Brian Ohler (R-64). A public hearing on the bill was held on March 6.

Kaye said he has to turn away a sale because of the limit at least once a day.

“A lot of people are aware of this now, because they’ve been to other breweries in Connecticut, so they get it, but I think they’d like to be able to buy at least one case,” he said.

Kaye estimated that the brewery produces about 80 barrels, or 2,400 gallons, of beer per month, which is small even by micro-brewery standards. He said New York does not have the same restrictions, and that customers who come over from South Salem are sometimes surprised by the limit.

“We have people that come in that want to buy more beer, and we’d be happy to sell it to them if we could,” he said.