Fruit juice, laundry detergent, ketchup and wine are all available in pouches but, under current state law, malted beverages are not.
A bill approved by the state House of Representatives Wednesday would change that. House Bill 6540 would strike a provision that bars malt liquor from being sold in containers composed of mixed materials, such as plastics and metal; it passed on a vote of 120 to 25, with five absent.
Beer is the most common malt beverage but the category also includes flavored malt beverages that are often served frozen, such as Smirnoff Ice and Parrot Bay daquiris and pina coladas.
Liquor manufacturers had been pressing for the bill. \”Not allowing the sale of [malt-based products] in pouches is discriminatory and just plain unfair,\’\’ John B. Henderson testified at an earlier public hearing on the bill. He is an official with North American Breweries, a Rochester-N.Y. based company that owns and operates five breweries.
Connecticut is the only state in the nation that does not permit malted liquor to be sold in pouches. Diageo, a Norwalk-based company that owns beer, wine and spirits brands, including Guinness and Smirnoff Ice, says the bill would allow the company to sell its malt-based drinks in its home state.
\”The pouch packaging is light, durable and flexible [and] has a smaller carbon footprint\” than conventional bottles and cans, Dwayne Kratt, senior director for state government affairs at Diageo, said in written testimony to the legislature\’s environment committee.
But the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection opposes the proposal, saying it runs counter to DEEP policies promoting recycling. The pouches cannot be recycled.
During Wednesday\’s brief debate in the House, Rep. Jay Case, R-Winchester, noted that a wide variety of products, including juice and other drinks, are available in pouches.
\”I believe they\’re [used] in Kool-Aid, any drink you buy and you put a straw in it for your young child,\’\’ Case said. \”So these packages are out there.\’\’
The bill now moves to the state Senate for consideration.