Hawaii’s state Senate Bill 2606, allowing small brewpubs to sell their customers kegs and half-gallon jugs to go, is awaiting Gov. Linda Lingle’s endorsement. The bill, which passed unopposed, would permit brewpubs to sell beer to customers for off-premises consumption, by eliminating the requirement of having the product go through a distributor. Supporters promoted the bill as an economic incentive, arguing that it would open new markets and thus add to sales for the state’s brewpubs. Brewpubs were made legal in Hawaii in 1994, but have found the going difficult, and many that opened in that state over the last ten years have not survived; only nine remain of the 25 brewpubs that have opened. In addition to selling to-go beer, brewpubs would also have the potential of selling kegs directly to restaurants without going through the distribution tier. If Gov. Lingle signs the bill, county liquor commissions would have to determine if new language is needed to permit off-premises sales.
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