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Hassan praises Schilling Brewing Co.'s charitable efforts

Sen. Maggie Hassan, Stuart Cozzens, John Lenzini, and Jeff Cozzens enjoy a half-pour of Schilling beer last Tuesday, Feb. 19. (Photo by Justin Roshak) (click for larger version)
February 27, 2019
LITTLETON—New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan visited Schilling Brewing Co. last Tuesday to congratulate them on their charitable efforts, and hear their concerns about the state of the craft beer industry.

She praised Schilling for temporarily releasing its trademark on the label "Resilience IPA" so that it could be used for a nation-wide fire relief charity project by Chico, California-based Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Sierra Nevada founder Ken Grossman visited Littleton in December to promote the project.

"These guys made a huge contribution," said Hassan, who named them Granite States of the Month last December for their efforts.

Schilling CEO Jeff Cozzens said that local investments in infrastructure, and community enagagement, had been key to his firm's success. He said his firm employs some 50 people at the moment, and as many as seventy during the summer rush.

"There's some exciting entrepreneurs in the area," observed Head Brewer John Lenzini, who mentioned new businesses such as Crumb Bar, the Freehouse Taproom, and the Inkwell Coffee House.

The two agreed that attracting quality employees was a priority. Lenzini acknowledged that craft brewing called for a specialized skill set, while Cozzens emphasized the importance of the sciences to his firm, and added that the craft beer industry was adding hundreds of millions of dollars to the New Hampshire economy.

"We need the help of Concord and Washington to streamline some things for us," Cozzens said. He said the process for certifying beer labels, an essential part of the production process, is "tremendously inefficient." During the government shutdown, "It was a huge problem for us" because beer was delayed getting to market.

"We had several new beers during this shutdown," Cozzens explained. "Without labels, we can't export across state lines."

Expanding sales to Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont is a major strategic goal for Schilling.

Lenzini added that while their firm was able to manage during the shutdown, other breweries had large quantities of beer sitting in their tanks.

Cozzens argued for a system where breweries could scan their labels into a database, and have assumed authorization to proceed unless federal regulators object (a system of "certified until proven guilty," which would reduce the power of federal regulators).

Cozzens could not resist asking Hassan for her thoughts on the Democratic primary, which is quickly shaping up to be one of the most crowded and competition in recent memory.

"I think it's important for Democrats to focus on overriding vision," she said, and urged her colleagues (none of whom she has yet endorsed) to "listen to New Hampshire residents" if they wish to succeed in the nation's first primary.

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