When you think of Community Supported Agriculture or CSA's, you probably think of scenes of sheep grazing on a small Vermont farm. But one person is trying to changing that. Instead of buying monthly or weekly shares of food from local farms, Joe Lemnah wants you to drink the benefits of agriculture through his brewery, Burlington Beer Company.
"The greatest thing since sliced bread is local artisinal bread and I think beer is a reflection of that," Lemnah said.
It's called a CSB, or Community Supported Brewery. For 200-dollars a share you'll get a different beer each month for a year, brewed by Lemnah to represent the season. Two dozen memberships are sold so far, but there are still a few more to go. "500 beer geeks out there -- this is for you," he said.
"I want to support local brewers and I love beer," said CSB Member, Tom Medve.
Lemnah's brewing resume includes Dog Fish Head in Maryland and Saratoga Brewing Company, and he shows off his beer skills at monthly free tasting events, so you can try before you buy. "Once a month you'll come to the brewery and pick up a 750ml wax dipped bottle that features the agriculture of Vermont," Lemnah said.
"It only took me about a day to figure out I wanted to try it," Medve said.
"This is a great way to build trust with the community and the brewery that's yet to be built," Lemnah said.
Yes you heard him correctly -- yet to be built. As of now, Lemnah is considered a home brewer by the state's liquor control department, brewing in an old horse barn in Jericho. He's hoping to raise 250-thousand dollars in order to create a brewery in Burlington.
Vermont is the fastest growing state for malt manufacturers in the U.S., but this is the first time ever a community supported brewery or CSB is on tap.
"He's had a concept -- he should of reached out to us to walk him through the steps," said Martin Prevost with the Vt. Department of Liquor Control.
Prevost said that although Lemanh's idea sounds good, the first time they ever heard of it was when this reporter approached him about this story. "What he's doing is the equivalent of selling beer in advance, like a credit in a store. We're researching to see if there's any problems with that," Prevost said.
Burlington Beer Company needs state and federal licensing and permitting in order to promote or sell anything. Lemnah said he's working with his lawyers to do that. "It's definitely going to happen, there's no ifs ands or buts about it -- it has to happen," he added.
If everything goes as planned, Lemnah said he hopes to be serving honest ales to honest people by next summer.
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