Tips on Tap for Breweries on the Journey from Passion to Profit

Verrill Dana’s Breweries, Distilleries & Wineries Group Presents Tap Tips Podcast Mini-series

As the number of craft breweries across the country continues to grow, Verrill Dana’s Breweries, Distilleries & Wineries Group presents Tap Tips Podcast Miniseries to help brewers on the journey from passion to profit.

The Tap Tips Podcast Miniseries contains eight episodes to assist up-and-coming brewmasters and brewery owners to think critically about the issues affecting their business. These podcasts provide information and practical tips for navigating the various complex issues that may arise at any stage, from business formation to licensing to risk management.

This mini-series is part of Verrill Dana’s “Verrill Voices” podcast series, the next evolution of the firm’s longstanding efforts to keep business leaders up-to-date, which already include in-person seminars, webinars, email alerts, and blogs.

Episodes of the Tap Tips Podcast Mini-series can be found at, in addition to on iTunes and SoundCloud

About Verrill DanaVerrill Dana, LLP is a full-service law firm conducting a nationwide practice from offices in Boston, Mass.; Portland and Augusta, Maine; Providence, R.I.; Westport, Conn.; and Washington, D.C. To learn more, visit


Mass Fermentational Tickets Now On Sale!


“Mass Fermentational” Set to Take Over Worcester Common

Fresh off the heels of its successful Power Beer Fest, the Massachusetts Brewers Guild announces its second beer festival and fundraiser of the year, the Mass Fermentational.

Breaking tradition from its typical location, The World Trade Center in Boston, the fall festival is changing venues to the Worcester Common and expects to draw 2,500 patrons to the green on Saturday, Sept. 16 from 1 to 5 p.m. located at 455 Main St. Worcester, MA.

“We are excited to shift locations and offer a festival outside of Boston this year,” says Rob Burns, co-founder of Night Shift and president of the Massachusetts Brewers Guild. “There are craft beer fans in every corner of the state, it only makes sense to diversify and bring a great beer show closer to their doorstep. We are grateful to the City of Worcester for welcoming us and ready for another successful beer festival.” Discover Central Massachusetts and Provider Insurance are the events leading sponsors.

The Massachusetts Brewers Guild is a nonprofit organization that exists to protect and promote the interests of craft breweries across the Commonwealth. More than fifty breweries are expected to pour at the Mass Fermentational, which will raise funds to create educational and marketing programs for local breweries and support the organization’s government affairs work.

Participating Breweries Include: 3 Beards Beer Co., 3cross Brewing Co, Aeronaut Brewing Company, Amherst Brewing, Bad Martha, Barrel House Z, Battle Road Brewing Company, Bent Water Brewing, Big Alice Brewing, Big Elm, Bone Up Brewing Company, Boston Beer Works, Cape Ann Brewing Co, Castle Island Brewing Co., Clown Shoes Beer, Cold Harbor Brewing Company, CraftRoots Brewing, Down The Road Beer Co., Element Brewing & Distilling, Exhibit 'A' Brewing Company, Flying Dreams Brewing Co., Harpoon Brewery, Honest Weight Artisan Beer, Jacks's Abby Craft Lagers, John Harvard's Brewery & Alehouse, Lookout Farm Brewing & Hard Cider Co. Lord Hobo Brewing Co., Mast Landing Brewing, Medusa Brewing Company, Moon Hill Brewing Co., Night Shift Brewing, Riverwalk Brewing Co., Start Line Brewing, Tree House Brewing Co., Wachusett Brewing Company and Wormtown Brewery. (Brewery list is being updated regularly.)

Tickets are $45 for general admission and includes unlimited two-ounce beer samples from participating breweries. Non-drinkers who wish to enjoy the atmosphere and an afternoon with friends -- but are not sampling -- can purchase a Designated Driver Ticket for $10. Once inside the festival, patrons can purchase gourmet eats served up by several food trucks onsite; Big T's BBQ, Press’n It, Sabor Latino, Teddy's Lunch Box, Travelin' Bones BBQ and Trolley Dogs.

Massachusetts Brewers Guild events are organized by craft brewers for craft brewers. To date, more than 122 breweries exist across the state. Breweries employ locals, drive traffic and tourism to the Commonwealth and pour world-class craft beer to thirsty locals and travelers. Massachusetts’ breweries are ranked among the best in the world, country and region, with accolades and awards being announced weekly.

The Mass Fermentational is a 21+ event, no exceptions. Identification required at the door. No dogs allowed with the exception of certified service animals. To purchase tickets, visit

Three Keys to Crafting a Better Business Protection Plan

By: Matt Montesano
A craft brewery insurance consultant at Cavallo & Signoriello 

It’s a warm, sunny day in Massachusetts. The Red Sox are up by five runs. The food truck is serving your favorite grilled cheese (the one with the fontina and the perfectly caramelized onions...). Clusters of friends are gathered outside on the patio, sipping your summer special—a smooth brew of honey and citrus.

Leave it to an insurance agent to spoil this idyllic scene, but hey, risk management is our job. And at the end of the day, most craft brewers thank us for pointing out the gaps they hadn’t seen before. Are any of the following exposures lurking around your craft brewery? If so, these three tips will help you take action.

1.     Understand Your Risk Profile

Craft breweries and brew pubs are unique businesses in every sense, but especially in terms of their insurance requirements. Sure, you need general liability, workers’ comp, and property insurance—just like any commercial outfit. But beyond these basics, coverage types get pretty specific. (Or at least they should.) Don’t settle for an insurance package that’s designed for a neighborhood bar or a manufacturing plant. Neither one is synonymous with your risk profile.

Instead, ask your agent about niche coverages that might need to be bundled into your program. Commonly overlooked coverages include tank collapse, tank leakage, boiler and machinery breakdown, water processing disruption, product contamination or recall, and key employee coverage for your head brewer or brew master. (Yep, that’s right. There’s an endorsement available to help you recoup the costs of recruiting and hiring a new point person if necessary.)

Business interruption insurance is another biggie. A lot of breweries have it, although not often for the right amount. With dozens of breweries entering the market each week, the wait time associated with new tanks and equipment orders has skyrocketed. Following a fire, major storm, or other door-closing event, your policy needs to account for this prolonged lag.

2.     Partner with the Right Team

Okay, so now you’re aware that craft brewery insurance is a super-nuanced product, much like the flavor profiles you create. It stands to reason that not every insurance agency is up to the task of quoting your business, nor every commercial insurance carrier. (You don’t want your business to be the guinea pig for someone’s foray into brewery insurance.)

Before choosing an insurance partner, find out if the different candidates are fully invested in your industry. For starters, do they spend any personal time at local breweries? Do they know the difference between Golding and Chinook hops? Do they even enjoy beer? Admittedly, these aren’t essential criteria, but it’s always easier to work with someone who recognizes and appreciates the value of what you do every day. More important qualifiers include number of years in business, customer references, value-added service offerings, industry association membership (e.g. the MBG), network and carrier relationships.

Why do networks matter? Because your insurance agent should be helping you more than once a year. As your business evolves, your footprint and risk profile can change, too. Maybe you’ll want to add a roof deck, start leasing kegs, bring in live entertainment, build an in-house kitchen, take your business on the road… In cases like these (and so many others!), a legal and/or financial expert should be guiding your path; brewery insurance professionals already have relationships with the folks you should consult. Meanwhile, they know how all of the above changes will affect your coverage needs.

3.     Prevent Loss Events before They Happen

Remember the Chris Rock bit that defines insurance as, “in case sh*t happens”? Good insurance partners don’t approach business protection this way, and neither should you. Ongoing, proactive risk management should be a built-in component of your business plan. If you don’t have the time or resources to get it done independently, don’t be shy about calling on your agent.

Some preventable loss events are obvious: liquor liability claims, for example. You staff should receive regular training on how to avoid over pouring, over-serving, or allowing intoxicated patrons to drive. But you can also take steps to prevent employee injuries and costly business disruptions. Hosting onsite trainings to teach proper lifting techniques, believe it or not, can save you a lot vis-à-vis workers’ compensation claims.

Here are some other pieces that belong in a thorough craft brewery safety program: employee handbooks, first aid and CPR training, defensive driver training for fleet drivers (if applicable), hazard analyses and written procedures in accordance with OSHA guidelines. Your brewery insurance partner should be available to help with all of it.

Because ultimately, creating the good stuff—the atmosphere, the flavors, the throngs of loyal fans—is your job.  Protecting your ability to thrive and grow: that’s the real definition of insurance. And when you leverage it correctly, it’s every bit as idyllic as a summer day on the patio.

Matt Montesano is a craft brewery insurance consultant with more than five years of experience in customer service and sales. He holds a degree in finance from Providence College, where he was a member of the Friars’ Division I hockey team. Outside the C&S Insurance office, Matt enjoys discovering new restaurants and breweries in and around Boston. He can also be found at the park or the beach with his 10-month-old English shepherd, Gordie. Follow Matt’s tweets @MattMontesano26.

Matt Montesano is a craft brewery insurance consultant with more than five years of experience in customer service and sales. He holds a degree in finance from Providence College, where he was a member of the Friars’ Division I hockey team. Outside the C&S Insurance office, Matt enjoys discovering new restaurants and breweries in and around Boston. He can also be found at the park or the beach with his 10-month-old English shepherd, Gordie. Follow Matt’s tweets @MattMontesano26.

Craft breweries and brew pubs have an extremely unique risk profile. Not every insurance provider is up to speed on the industry’s exposures and available products. At C&S, we work with leading carriers—several of whom offer brewery-specific insurance packages, designed to bundle the appropriate coverage into one, hassle-free insurance program. Ask our experts how your brew pub or craft brewery insurance should be structured, based on your individual operation.

Craft breweries and brew pubs have an extremely unique risk profile. Not every insurance provider is up to speed on the industry’s exposures and available products. At C&S, we work with leading carriers—several of whom offer brewery-specific insurance packages, designed to bundle the appropriate coverage into one, hassle-free insurance program. Ask our experts how your brew pub or craft brewery insurance should be structured, based on your individual operation.

Independence Matters

Brewers Association Launches New Seal to Designate Independent Beers   

Boulder, CO • June 27, 2017—In an effort to educate beer lovers about which beers are independently produced, the Brewers Association—the not-for-profit trade group dedicated to promoting and protecting America’s small and independent craft brewers—launched a new seal touting independent craft brewers.  

Featuring an iconic beer bottle shape flipped upside down, the seal captures the spirit with which craft brewers have upended beer, while informing beer lovers they are choosing a beer from a brewery that is independently owned. These breweries run their businesses free of influence from other alcohol beverage companies which are not themselves craft brewers.  

Independence is a hallmark of the craft brewing industry, and it matters to the brewers who make the beer and the beer lovers who drink it. A recent study commissioned by Brewbound and conducted Nielsen found that “independent” and “independently owned” strongly resonated with the majority (81 percent) of craft beer drinkers. Increasingly, they are looking for differentiation between what’s being produced by small and independent craft brewers versus Big Beer and acquired brands. Beer drinkers, especially Millennials, expect transparency when it comes to their food and beverages. That transparency and underlying ownership can drive their purchase intent.  

“Independent craft brewers continue to turn the beer industry on its head by putting community over corporation and beer before the bottom line. They continue to better beer and our country by going beyond just making the beverage. These small businesses give back to their backyard communities and support thousands of cities and towns across the U.S.,” said Bob Pease, president & CEO, Brewers Association. “As Big Beer acquires former craft brands, beer drinkers have become increasingly confused about which brewers remain independent. Beer lovers are interested in transparency when it comes to brewery ownership. This seal is a simple way to provide that clarity—now they can know what’s been brewed small and certified independent.”  

The seal is available for use free of charge by any of the more than 5,300 small and independent American craft brewers that have a valid TTB Brewer’s Notice, meet the BA’s craft brewer definition, and sign a license agreement. It is available to both member and non-member breweries of the BA. In the coming weeks, months and years, beer lovers will see it on beer packaging, at retailers and in brewery communications and marketing materials.  

“Craft brewers build communities and the spirit of independent ownership matters” said Rob Tod, chair, Brewers Association Board of Directors and founder, Allagash Brewing Company in Portland, Maine. “When beer lovers buy independent craft beer, they are supporting American entrepreneurs and the risk takers who have long strived not just to be innovative and make truly great beer, but to also build culture and community in the process.”  

While small and independent craft brewers represent 99 percent of the 5,300+ breweries in the U.S., they make just 12 percent of the beer sold in the country. The rest of U.S. beer sales comes from Big Beer along with imported brands. As large brewers continue to have unprecedented influence and acquire millions of barrels of formerly independently brewed beer, the seal differentiates in a crowded and increasingly competitive marketplace.  

"On behalf of the MA Brewers Guild, we fully support the Brewers Association in this initiative, and we’re in the process of getting the information out to our independent craft brewery members across the Commonwealth," says Rob Burns, President of the Mass Brewers Guild. "We are raising our pints to the Brewers Association for taking this stance and will do what we can to make sure our members join the effort."

Breweries can find more information about the independent craft brewer seal at and beer lovers can learn more at Follow the discussion at #IndependentBeer.  

About the Brewers Association:
The Brewers Association is the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers, their beers and the community of brewing enthusiasts. The Brewers Association (BA) represents more than 70 percent of the brewing industry, and its members make more than 99 percent of the beer brewed in the U.S. The BA organizes events including the World Beer CupSM, Great American Beer Festival®, Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America®, SAVOR℠: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience, Homebrew Con, National Homebrew Competition and American Craft Beer Week®. The BA publishes The New Brewer® magazine and its Brewers Publications™ division is the largest publisher of contemporary and relevant brewing literature for today’s craft brewers and homebrewers.   Beer lovers are invited to learn more about the dynamic world of craft beer at and about homebrewing via the BA’s American Homebrewers Association and the free Brew Guru™ mobile app. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.  

The Brewers Association is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital/familial status. The BA complies with provisions of Executive Order 11246 and the rules, regulations, and relevant orders of the Secretary of Labor.  

MBG Board Changes for 2018

Members of the Massachusetts Brewers Guild (MBG) board of directors are volunteers that serve to further the work of the association and its mission -- to protect and promote the interests of Massachusetts craft brewers.

Unlike many nonprofit boards that serve to advise the organization’s staff, MBG board members also have to serve as staff, and work on behalf of the organization to deliver the created objectives and goals. With the support of only one full-time staff member, board members spend an average of 10 to 25 hours a month working on the MBG’s initiatives -- depending on the project or work cycle.

The guild board of directors currently holds eleven seats, six of which are up for election in January 2018.

Co-leader of the government affairs committee, Rob Martin from Ipswich Ale Brewery, co-leader of the finance committee, Dan Kenary from Harpoon Brewery, head of the marketing committee, Keith Sullivan from Medusa Brewing, and MBG Treasurer Sam Hendler from Jack’s Abby, will all rerun for a two-year term (the 2018 to 2020 calendar year.)

After serving as veteran board members since the MBG’s inception, both Gary Bogoff from Berkshire Brewing Co., and Ned LaFortune from Wachusett Brewing Co., will step down from the board’s daily duties as members, and serve as board advisors. LaFortune and Bogoff will remain supportive guides to the board of directors when called upon for advice.

The MBG’s board is seeking brewers, and brewery staff to consider joining the nonprofit’s leadership team to help further its work by donating their time, expertise and passion for the industry.

The board’s nominating committee, which consists of Michelle Sullivan from Boston Beer Co., and Rob Burns from Night Shift Brewing, are now accepting resumes with a letter of intent detailing the goals or changes that candidates would like to help implement within the organization.

Those submitting their resume should plan to get involved with the organization prior to the start of the year by joining a working committee. It will be important for the nominating committee to see a strong commitment from individuals wishing to have a seat on the board.

The board seeks to diversify its members and strengthen its geographical representation. They are looking for all areas of expertise -- from law to marketing, to fundraising, event planning and general leadership. The nominating committee will put forth candidates that demonstrate a willingness to work together on issues and help serve the craft beer community.

During the January 2018 meeting, all six seats up for election will be voted on by members. Only member breweries current on dues will be able to vote in this election. Invoices to renew 2018 membership dues will go out at the end of December, at least three weeks prior to the meeting. Memberships run from January to January, during a typical 12-month calendar year. Breweries will need to be physically present at this meeting to cast their ballot.

A committed and passionate board is essential to accomplishing the work of the Massachusetts Brewers Guild. Now more than ever, it's vital for a strong board and leadership team to help guide the Massachusetts craft beer community forward and serve as a unified voice when confronting all issues that impact the industry.

Those interested in joining the board can send their resume and cover letter to the MBG’s executive director, Katie Stinchon at for review. In your cover letter please answer the following questions:

  • Why do you want to join the MBG’s board of directors?
  • Realistically, how much time you can dedicate to the organization a month?
  • Which committee you would like to donate your time to?
  • What major issues would you like to be involved in and how would you change them?

What’s expected of MBG Board Members? MBG Board Members Will:

  • Interpret the organization's work and values to the community, represent the organization, and act as a spokesperson
  • Listen carefully to board colleagues and members of the craft beer community
  • Respect the opinion of fellow board members
  • Respect and support majority decisions of the board
  • Recognize that all authority is vested in the full board only when it meets in legal sessions
  • Keep well-informed about developments relevant to issues that may come before the board
  • Attend bi-monthly board meetings (six a year – 1.5 hours long) and understand that they may be relieved of board duties if they miss more than two meetings
  • Actively participate in board meetings and actions
  • Become actively involved in at least one committee – driving goals and accomplishing tasks – (Marketing, Events, Government Affairs, and Membership)
  • Support MBG events and initiatives through participation
  • Bring to the attention of the board any issues that will have an adverse effect on the organization or those we serve
  • Refer complaints to the proper level on the chain of command
  • Recognize that the job of a board member is to ensure that the organization is well-managed, not to manage the nonprofit
  • Represent all of those whom this nonprofit serves, not just a particular geographic area or interest group
  • Consider yourself a “trustee” of the nonprofit and do your best to ensure that it is well-maintained, financially secure, growing and always operating in the best interests of those we serve
  • Declare conflicts of interest between your personal life and position on the board, and abstain from voting or discussion when appropriate

MBG Board Members Will Not:

  • Criticize fellow board members or their opinions, in or out of the board room
  • Use the nonprofit organization for your personal advantage or that of your friends or relatives
  • Discuss the confidential proceedings of the board outside the board room
  • Interfere with the duties of the administrator or undermine the administrator’s authority with staff

As a board member, the organization is responsible to you in the following ways:

  • To keep its board members regularly updated on the organizational activities, programs, policies, goals and objectives as appropriate
  • It is expected that board members and the Executive Director will respond in a straightforward fashion to questions that are necessary to carry out fiscal, legal and moral responsibilities to the organization
  • If the organization does not fulfill its commitments, board members may call upon the Board President and E.D. to discuss the organization’s responsibilities
  • The organization will carry directors and officers’ liability insurance

Top 5 Tips for Entering New Markets

By: Jerry Beaudion, Petainer VP Sales, North America - East

As breweries grow and build their brands, many seek to open new revenue streams by entering new markets, either domestic or internationally.  However, taking beer from one market to another often presents a number of challenges with marketing and supply chain.  By following some simple guidelines, you can avoid common pitfalls and make new market penetration a success.

Here's my top 5 tips for a successful expansion: 

1. Know your new market - it is vital that you understand the market you are entering and that there is genuine consumer demand for your product.  This can be achieved by visits or market research, by working with someone, such as a distributor, or importer/exporter who understands the local beer market and has a track-record of successfully launching new brands.

2. Stay true to your brand - some breweries are tempted to radically change their products to fit into a new market.  Those that stay true to their brand and heritage are often more successful even if they make minor adjustments to ensure they are locally relevant.   Remember: customers enjoy and demand high quality, distinctive products. 

3. Start small - the other lesson learned from brewers who have successfully entered new markets is to start small.  Choose a region or country which doesn’t require huge initial investment or product, and be patient as there will challenges along the way!

4. Read the fine print – make sure you understand the fine print before shipping beer to a new market.  Every state and country has unique rules and regulations when it comes to beer.  If there is failure to comply, the beer will simply be stopped from entering the market, and will never reach its destination.  An expensive mistake to make, especially when shipping a non-pasteurized or sterile filtered beer.

5. Seek more cost-effective solutions - the complexities of transporting beer over longer distances may mean that you must look at alternative options to steel keg fleets.  Disposable kegs have helped many smaller breweries overcome the challenges of long distances, as well as saving the cost of transporting empty containers back to the brewery.  They can also be used on existing brewery filling lines designed for steel kegs which means there is no additional investment.  Typically, twice as much beer can be transported by truck and it reduces freight costs by 50 percent.

petainerKeg™ opens new markets, reduces costs, reduces initial investment, guarantees taste and is planet friendly.

If you are interested in finding out more about one-way kegs or would like some free samples, please contact Jerry Beaudion email:

Businesses Work Together for Western Mass Beer Week, June 10-17

The spirit of Western Mass Beer Week is best embodied when businesses come together for a collaboration, such as brewing a beer together or planning a thoughtfully paired dinner. 2017’s Beer Week is packed with special collaborative releases and food pairing events.

Exclusive Beer Week Collaboration Releases
(in order of release date):

Beer: “Abandoned at Lefty’s”
Breweries: Abandoned Building and Lefty’s Brewing
Details: An imperial stout aged on scotch barrel chips
Release Info: On draft at Abandoned Building beginning Saturday, June 10 with three different versions on tap--original, with cacao nibs, and with vanilla bean.16 oz cans will be distributed throughout the state at Lefty’s retailers during the week. Special versions will additionally be tapped at Beer Week events at the Brass Cat in Easthampton and Riff's North in Turners Falls on Thursday, June 15.

Beer: “A for Effort”
Breweries: Abandoned Building and Brewmaster Jack
Details: The second Beer Week collaboration from this duo is an IPA brewed and dry hopped with lupulin powder.
Release Info: Draft release Sunday, June 11, 1 to 6 p.m. at Abandoned Building Brewery with a special cask tapping at 2 p.m. Cans will hit Brewmaster Jack retailers beginning Monday, June 12.

Beer:  “Mo Way! Another IPA”
Breweries: Two Weeks Notice and Vanished Valley
Details: Two the newest western Mass. breweries combine their passion, love, and dedication to the art of brewing in the release of Mo Way! Another IPA.
Release Info: Sunday, June 11, 2 to 6 p.m. at the Hangar in Amherst. This will a very limited draft-only release.

Beer: “Manhan Trail Pale Ale”
Businesses: Abandoned Building Brewery and Beerology
Details: Brewed both on Abandoned Building’s commercial system as well as Beerology’s home-brew setup, this New England pale ale is named for the bike path that connects the two locales.
Release Info: Monday, June 12 from 5 to 9 p.m.  cans of Manhan Trail Pale Ale will be available for sale at Abandoned Building exclusively. Stop by Beerology any time during Western Mass Beer Week for a complimentary sample of the homebrewed version of this beer, and pick up the ingredients to brew it at home.

Beer:  “Toasted Coconut Creme Stout”
Businesses: Amherst Brewing and Shelburne Falls Coffee Roasters
Details: Amherst Brewing’s third seasonal release with Shelburne Falls. For this batch they’re working with a crowd favorite, Toasted Coconut Creme, blended with Amherst’s Two Sisters Stout.
Release Info: Tuesday, June 13 at the Hangar Pub and Grill in Amherst during open business hours. Available for nitro pours on the bar and wax dipped bottles will be available for purchase.

Beer: Worthy’s 2016 Homebrew Winners’ Collaboration
Breweries: Two Weeks Notice, Drunken Rabbit and Amherst Brewing
Details: An IPA brewed with the best hops from each brewery’s award-winning homebrews plus some Idaho 7 to give it another unique flavor.
Release Info:  Thursday, June 15 at 4 p.m. #TapThatThursday at Smith’s Billiards as well as at the Worthy Brew Fest on June 17, upstairs at Smith's later that night, and at the Hangar in Amherst, Westfield, and Greenfield.

Beer: “Down to the Wire”
Breweries: Amherst Brewing and Vanished Valley
Details: A new unique IPA
Release Info: Released exclusively Thursday, June 15 at Europa’s Beer Dinner and on draft at the Hangar in Amherst, Westfield and Greenfield

For more information about all special beer releases during Western Mass Beer Week, visit this link.

Beer Pairing Dinners

Location: Taphouse Grille, West Springfield
Date & Time: Tuesday, June 13, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Details: A five-course gourmet beer dinner featuring IPA's from western Mass. breweries: Abandoned Building, Brewmaster Jack, Building 8, Fort Hill and Iron Duke.
Tickets:  Seats are $65/person plus tax & gratuity.  Call for reservations: 413-363-1000.

Location: The Bistro at Gateway City Arts, Holyoke
Date & Time: Tuesday, June 13, 7 to 9 p.m.
Details: Five courses paired with five local brews: Fort Hill Hera Pilsner, Abandoned Building Lola Saison, Building 8 IPA, Element Red Giant, and Berkshire Brewing Coffee House Nitro Porter. Tickets: Limited to 50 tickets at $50 each. Call The Bistro 413-650-0786 to purchase. June 9 is the last day to make reservations.

Location: Sevenstrong, Northampton
Date & Time: Wednesday, June 14, 5:30 to 9 p.m.
Details: Chef Jonathan Adler, formerly of the 3-Michelin star rated Saison in San Francisco, will be serving a special seven course dinner paired with five Brewmaster Jack beers at his new Northampton restaurant, Sevenstrong. As the menu changes frequently at Sevenstrong, they will be waiting to finalize the menu until early June.
Tickets: $75 per seat and includes: seven courses, five beer pairings, and tax. Gratuity not included. Call 413-341-3395 for reservations. $50 deposit required with reservation (refundable if reservation is canceled by June 11). Beer flights will also be available at the bar for $19.

Location: Bistro 63, Amherst
Date & Time: Wednesday, June 14, 6 to 9 p.m.
Details: Taco + Beer pairing dinner, featuring 5 tacos and 5 local beers plus a beer-themed dessert.
Tickets: $40 plus tax and gratuity. Ticket link coming soon.

Location: Europa Black Rock Bar and Grill, Ludlow
Date & Time: Thursday, June 15, 6 to 9 p.m.
Details: Join Amherst Brewing and Vanished Valley Brewing Company as they feature some exciting beer and food pairings with the help of Europa Black Rock Bar and Grill. This is 5-course meal event with each course being paired with either an Amherst Brewing or Vanished Valley beer. One of the courses features the Western Mass Beer Week Amherst Brewing and Vanished Valley collaboration brew, Down to the Wire IPA.
Ticket: $50.00 per person (tax and tip included). Tickets are available at Europa for purchase or by calling 413-547-6443.

Other participating restaurants like Hope & Olive and Sierra Grille will feature daily menu specials with recommended western Mass. beer pairings. For information about all beer dinners and food pairing events, visit this link.

Events are still being confirmed for Western Mass Beer Week 2017. Please visit for the most up-to-date calendar listings.


About Western Mass Beer Week
Western Mass Beer Week is a coordinated week of events mid-June at breweries, bars, retailers and restaurants in western Massachusetts celebrating the beer brewed in the region. Its mission is to call attention to western Massachusetts as a beer destination and to develop a stronger synergy between the breweries, beer venues and all of the exciting things happening in the region’s beer scene. For more information, visit





New Growler Rule in MA: What it means for consumers and what it means for breweries

Recently Massachusett’s Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC) put a new rule into effect allowing breweries to refill growlers brought in from outside the brewery. See the advisory here.

This advisory does have some provisions in it which may cause confusion for consumers and breweries alike. Here’s what our president has to say about it:

“This new rule opens up a great opportunity for many Massachusetts breweries that rely on growlers as their primary source of selling beer to-go. Ordering and storing pallets of growlers and maintaining the supply when business is good can be both expensive and challenging. We hope this alleviates some of that burden,” says Rob Burns, Mass Brewers Guild President and co-founder of Night Shift. “However, this change may also cause confusion for consumers as the new rule states that the growlers must be blank and devoid of other brewery branding. Ultimately, this won't help those eager to unload their branded growler collection. Also, breweries still have the right to decline filling any type of growler, or growlers at all. It will be up to the breweries to make their individual policies clear on their website and social media channels to avoid disappointed guests in their tap rooms."

What should craft beer fans know? According to the new rule:

  • Any growler can be filled by any brewery so long as it's "blank" which means devoid of another brewery's branding or labels. You cannot bring a branded growler to another brewery to fill. 
  • Any type of growler can now be filled: plastic, ceramic, metal or glass 
  • Any size growler can now be filled 
  • The growler must be empty of all alcoholic beverages (it should be clean too!)
  • Know before you go -- breweries can still decline to fill growlers from outside their brewery, or growlers at all.

What should breweries know? According to the new rule:

  • The growler must be filled from a tap by a Farmer-Brewery or Pub-Brewery licensed by the state.
  • Each brewer is responsible for ensuring their legality in their trade practices at the state and federal level and adhere to federal guidelines. See the FAQ page and seek legal consul or reach out to the ABCC with questions or for clarification.
  • Breweries should post their individual growler filling policies on their website site, social media channels, and in their tap rooms to avoid confusion.