Governor signs Chipman law to cut red tape for beverage startups

Posted: June 07, 2017 | Senator Chipman

Gov. Paul LePage has signed into law a bill by Sen. Ben Chipman, D-Portland, to cut red tape for small, nonalcoholic beverage producers.

The law — LD 1409 “An Act To Reduce Regulations for Small Nonalcoholic Beverage Producers — allows 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.

“I’m glad to see this commonsense bill to help these small businesses, which face huge start-up costs, become law” said Sen. Chipman. “These startups have to meet the same industrial-sized regulations that large beverage producers do and it is a great hinderance to the success of these new businesses. This new law will lessen that burden and help these startups succeed.”

Currently, all nonalcoholic beverage producers are required 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.