Proposal that could force breweries to close tap rooms swiftly taken off the table

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A plan that could have forced Connecticut breweries to close up shop in their tap rooms was removed from consideration Thursday.

Craft breweries throughout the state panicked over the past two days over a proposal that would have forced them to choose between running a tap room and selling their beer at stores and restaurants.

"It would put breweries out of business. Anyone except the very largest would be put out of business," says Mark Szamatulski, of Veracious Brewing in Monroe.

One of the bill's author, state Sen. Douglas McCrory, said breweries were undercutting longtime distributors and restaurants.

"Since the market has changed, the policy has to change, the rules have to change and they should be in place so we can have a level playing field for everybody that's in play," says McCrory.

In less than two days, lawmakers' offices were flooded with calls and emails from brewers concerned over the plan. In response, the author pulled the bill Thursday afternoon.

Another proposal that would have gone even further was also pulled Wednesday.

McCrory released a statement about his decision, saying, "I do believe it is important going forward to have a broad public debate about how the manufacturers, distributors and retailers of beer in Connecticut can create a more equal and fair system. My support for small business has not changed. Opportunity, equality and fairness for everyone are my only goals."

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