It is officially summertime in Ohio, and that means it’s time to get outside and enjoy local entertainment, whether that is a county fair or live music. Ohio is home to several industries that have boomed in recent years, such as craft breweries and wineries and the farmers market business. Summer is the perfect time to explore what these businesses can offer our communities and economies, and the Ohio House has been working on legislation to make them more appealing for consumers and to increase their impact on the economy.
Legislation passed by the General Assembly in May creates the Ohio Farm Winery Permit, which can be issued to a farm that grows grapes or fruit to produce its own wine. House Bill 342 allows a wine manufacturer to distinguish itself from other wineries that import products from outside Ohio, thus designating its wine as an authentic Ohio wine. Additionally, the winery can sell its product to consumers on its premises under the permit. A visit to a winery is a great summer activity, and being recognized as an Ohio winery with the ability to sell product will help generate tourism.
Such wine manufacturers will now also be able to sell tasting samples and bottled goods at local farmers markets that obtain an F-10 liquor permit, made possible by House Bill 178. Farmers markets are a great seasonal business in Ohio as many people enjoy buying local, homegrown goods to help boost the economy. Letting Ohio wineries sell samples and products at these markets not only expands the markets’ customer base, but it also gives the wineries the opportunity to advertise their business and increase visits to the premises of the winery.
Wineries aren’t the only business to see an increase in consumer traffic; craft breweries have seen an almost exponential expansion in growth throughout Ohio. Growth has been so evident that the General Assembly passed legislation to increase distilleries’ manufacturing limits from ten thousand gallons to 100 thousand gallons annually. House Bill 351 also creates a permit that will allow distilleries to serve their product and other alcoholic beverages on the facility’s premises. By removing these limitations on this ever-expanding industry, craft breweries and wineries can attract more consumers and compete nationally within the marketplace.
Each of these pieces of legislation can positively impact these industries in Ohio, which are more often than not local, small businesses seeking to expand their customer base and generate more product and sales. By providing these businesses with more opportunities and encouraging their growth, Ohio’s economy will reap the benefits as well.
Cliff Rosenberger is the Ohio House Speaker.