Committee OKs Chipman bill to cut red tape for beverage startups

Posted: May 08, 2017 | Senator Chipman

The Legislature’s Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development Committee voted unanimously on Wednesday in favor of a bill by Sen. Ben Chipman, D-Portland, to cut red tape for small, nonalcoholic beverage producers.

The bill — LD 1409 “An Act To Reduce Regulations for Small Nonalcoholic Beverage Producers — would, as amended, allow small, non-alcoholic beverage startups that produce 10,000 gallons or less annually to wash and clean their bottles or cans by hand and to carbonate their beverages by hand, as long as all other sanitary requirements for larger producers are met.

“The start-up costs for these small businesses are huge,” said Sen. Chipman. “Requirements to meet the same industrial-sized regulations that larger beverage producers do are huge barriers to getting small businesses off the ground — this bill will lessen that burden and help new ideas and businesses succeed.”

Current law requires all nonalcoholic beverage producers to clean and sanitize their reusable beverage containers by a mechanized process. This machinery is expensive, which can be prohibitive for startup. This bill would cut that cost for the businesses until they are producing their product at a scale that would allow them to both afford the machinery and be producing enough of the product to make hand washing the containers no longer a sustainable business process.

LD 1409 now heads to the Senate for initial votes.