Honolulu, Hawaii



RE:    S.B. No. 717

       S.D. 1




Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi

President of the Senate

Thirty-Second State Legislature

Regular Session of 2023

State of Hawaii




     Your Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection, to which was referred S.B. No. 717 entitled:




begs leave to report as follows:


     The purpose and intent of this measure is to:


     (1)  Expand the definition of "beer" under the liquor regulatory laws to mean any alcoholic beverage containing no less than 0.5 percent alcohol by volume obtained by fermentation of any infusion or decoction of malt or any substitute, including alcohol seltzer beverages and excluding sake, cooler beverages, and other distilled products; and


     (2)  Authorize brewpubs to sell beer they manufacture, or beer manufactured on their premises, subject to certain conditions.


     Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from Maui Brewing Co., Lanikai Brewing Co., Big Island Brewhaus, and Kauai Beer Company.


     Your Committee finds that under existing law, the term "beer" is defined as any beverage obtained by the alcoholic fermentation of barley or other grain, malt, and hops.  However, craft beer brewers across the country have created a wider range of beer styles with a variety of additional ingredients in their recipes including other types of grains as base ingredients, other fermentable sugar sources, and brewed hard seltzers.  Under federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau regulations, both malt-based and sugar-based hard seltzers are considered "beer".  This measure aligns the term "beer" to more closely follow the definition used for "beer" under the Internal Revenue Code, federal regulations, and standards in the craft beer brewing industry to promote expanded local production opportunities.


     Your Committee has amended this measure by inserting an effective date of July 1, 2050, to encourage further discussion.


     As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 717, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 717, S.D. 1, and be placed on the calendar for Third Reading.


Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection,