OPINION: Support Your Local Brewery – Vote Yes on Article 32

April 24, 2024 By Mike Dyer, Hingham Resident and Co-Owner of Untold Brewing

Fellow Hinghamites – this Wednesday night is Town Meeting and I encourage you to attend. On the agenda is Article 32, an amendment to the zoning by-law that would enable Farmer Breweries, Wineries, and Distilleries to open in select business districts alongside other hospitality businesses, such as restaurants.

Today, for a craft beverage business to open in Hingham, they must be classified as a restaurant, requiring a kitchen, full menu, and sit-down service. While food is something that every craft beverage tasting room appreciates and values for its contribution to guest experience, we seek to focus on our craft, rather than compete with local restaurants and caterers that excel at dining. It’s commonplace for craft taprooms to instead collaborate with local dining establishments, symbiotically supporting fellow small business owners and giving guests the opportunity to bring in food of their choice.

A YES vote for this zoning article simply establishes a business classification that does not exist within the Town Zoning by-laws that were adopted on March 10, 1941. It does not mean that a flood of these specialty businesses will come to Hingham, for frankly the economics in Town and the complexities of licensing on the Federal, State, and Local level are quite challenging and time consuming. Opening a brewery requires suitable retail space, obtaining a Federal Brewer’s Permit, a State issued Farmer Brewery license, and finally a Town issued Pouring Permit, all subject to review that can take upwards of 6 months to a year to complete. This, of course, does not include the cost of building a modern, hospitality focused facility, equipment, staffing and the expertise and skill to succeed.

While my opinion may be considered biased as a craft brewery owner, it is supported by my experience in the industry and tempered as a Hingham resident, husband and dad. Breweries have become modern community hubs; they are not dark, dingy bars. They are a safe, warm, and welcoming place where people of all demographics can connect and relax. Breweries support local businesses, artists, musicians, schools, and nonprofits, and have been shown time and time again to create economic benefits for the communities within which they operate. I’m voting in favor of Article 32 for fellow craft beverage artisans, for the Town that I live in and love, and for bringing Hingham up-to-date with communities across the Commonwealth that support over 130 craft breweries. I humbly urge you to do the same

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