Brewery Insurance in Massachusetts: Optimal Coverage for Craft Breweries, Microbreweries, and Brewpubs

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craft brewery insurance

Craft breweries and brewpubs have an extremely unique risk profile, and not every insurance provider is up to speed on the industry’s exposures and available products. At C&S, we work with leading carriers — several of whom offer brewery-specific insurance packages designed to bundle the appropriate coverage into one hassle-free insurance program. Ask our experts how your brewpub or craft brewery insurance should be structured based on your individual operation.

Brewery Insurance Coverage

Here are the types of brewery-specific coverages you need to consider:

  • Liquor Liability protects against claims involving legal fees, settlements, and other costs associated with damages for injuries imposed on a brewery for selling, serving or furnishing alcoholic beverages.
  • Boiler and Machinery coverage protects against damage and financial loss incurred from an equipment malfunction or breakdown, including tanks and barrels. This also covers the cost to fix or repair equipment that isn’t working properly, including labor costs.
  • Supply Chain Insurance protects your brewery against financial losses due to disruptions in the supply chain due to a covered cause of loss.
  • Spoilage and Product Recall coverage protects against costs related to pulling a product from the shelves, notifying customers, and disposing of products that can’t be sold for a specific reason.
  • Key Employee Insurance is essentially a life insurance policy. It’s owned by the key employee’s business, and the business is the beneficiary. This is also known as “key man insurance,” “key executive insurance,” and “corporate-owned life insurance.”

Other Types of Insurance to Consider

Aside from general liability and MA workers’ compensation, here some over types of coverages you may need.

  • Beer inventory covers not only your finished stock, but also your raw ingredients. This can also include the cost of cans and labels.  It’s important to note that a good specialty brewery insurance program will indemnify the brewery for the sale price of the beer.
  • Beer in transit protects the beverages while they’re being transported. Who is responsible for the product — is it the brewery or the distributor? So it’s important to have an insurance program that provides this kind of property coverage in the event your contract requires you to cover the beer in transit.
  • Pollution liability protects from exposures or issues with pollution; many claims related to this arise from problems with mold.
  • Cyber coverage refers to coverage for first party cyber-attacks on a company’s own network (cost of downtime, an IT forensic team restoring the networks, etc.) and provides legal defense and indemnification for third-party breaches.
  • Commercial auto includes collision and comprehensive physical damage coverage to vehicles, liability, medical payments, loss of earnings, uninsured and underinsured motor vehicles, and rental reimbursement coverage. A commercial auto policy is critical coverage for any brewery doing their own distribution.
  • Excess liability, also known as umbrella insurance, acts like backup coverage for your other liability policies. Umbrella insurance protects you against a variety of claims and lawsuits, including bodily injury, property damage, and personal liability claims, along with auto liability, employer’s liability, and if the umbrella is designed properly, it should cover over a brewery’s liquor liability.
  • Employment practices liability insurance (EPLI) protects against employment related claims from harassment, wrongful termination, discrimination, defamation, invasion of privacy, breach of contract, and more.
  • Employee benefits liability provides coverage to an employer when it comes to claims arising out of the employer’s failure to provide their employees with access to promised healthcare, time off, benefits, etc.

Brewery Insurance Variables

Details matter. Let’s talk about your business to ensure you’re getting the right protection. Here are some questions to consider as you look at brewery insurance coverage:

  • Do you offer tours, tastings, or brew-your-own-beer services? In other words, it’s important to think about whether you have customers on site since this will affect your coverage since that increases the risk. There’s the potential for a slip and fall. Although adding these types of brewery offerings is enjoyable for customers, it can increase your risk and exposure. It’s important to keep this in mind during the underwriting process.
  • Do you maintain a full bar and/or restaurant? Some breweries may require employees who serve alcohol to complete a certification course, which talks about serving capacity limits and when to cut people off.  Specialty brewery insurance programs will almost always require these certifications.
  • Do you outsource the production of your recipes to an offsite brewer? It’s important to look at the contract and know who is responsible   for property, ranging from labels, cans and bottles, to raw ingredients, all the way through the production line, to finished stock.
  • What are your employment requirements for employees? Many breweries have forklifts in the production area to lift kegs and heavy equipment. Do your forklift operators have a hoisting license?  Aside from regulation compliance, having licensed employees operating machinery and equipment can help reduce the chance of an injury or accident.
  • How much equipment/property do you own/lease? How are you insuring the equipment you have? Are your policies designed to handle seasonal fluctuations? For example, beer gardens are often closed in the winter, and breweries may need to order more ingredients in the summer.  Nearly all specialty brewery insurance programs take seasonal fluctuations in property values into consideration and provides additional coverage limits for peak seasons.
  • Where is your brewery located? Location is something every type of business should think about. Is your brewery located in a busy parking lot? Next to a flood zone? What are the type of exposures around the building?
  • How far does your insurance policy extend on your property? Many breweries have outdoor beer gardens. You want to make sure your property policy covers the areas you need.
  • How far does your liquor liability extend? It’s important to understand how far your liability extends, and what regulatory requirements you need in place for your liquor liability to offer the coverage you expect it to in the event of a claim.  So, it’s equally as important to partner with an agent who will regularly read your policy about language and potential risks.

Value Added Services

We’ve built our brand around exceptional service. As a C&S client, you can rely on a dedicated account manager and account executive to help you with:

OSHA Compliance

We can help your business avoid costly OSHA violations.

Loss Control Services

We’ll also help you get strategic about risk management — reducing injuries, mitigating loss events, and avoiding business interruptions.

Product Recall Instructions

If you have to unfortunately recall a product, we can help.

Contract Review

We’re more than happy to review contracts with landlords and distributors to find out what insurance requirements are needed.

The Latest Industry Information

Distributor laws can change, which will impact your insurance. Here at C&S, we consistently keep up to date on the latest industry news and information. We’re also affiliated with the Massachusetts Brewers Guild.

Workers’ Compensation Support

Back injuries are a big problem among craft brewery employees. At no cost to you, our insuring partners can bring in experts to train your team on lifting safety and other injury prevention techniques.

FAQs

Q: How much does brewery insurance cost?
A:  The exact cost will depend on a number of locations, the company’s gross sales (alcohol sales), food sales, property insured, and many other factors.

Q: Where can I find brewery insurance?
A: There are a handful of companies that can provide coverage for breweries and microbreweries in Massachusetts and throughout New England. While many carriers can provide insurance for one specific line of coverage, it is in the business owner’s best interest to bundle everything into one program. We have access to insurance companies that are capable of bundling required and recommended coverages, which means we can often achieve the best pricing for our clients. These programs offer the unique coverages that breweries need, and our specialized agents will continually pay close attention to you and your business needs.

Q: What information do brewery owners need to provide in order to get an insurance quote? 
A: No two breweries operate the exact same way. That’s why our agents like to understand each breweries’ unique operations and risks. We typically ask for a 30-minute call or meeting to discuss the operations and get to know what’s important to you. It’s a very simple process, and we’re happy to walk anyone through it. Just call our team at 508-339-2951.

Contact Us

If you have questions about brewery insurance or you’re looking for more information, please reach out to our brewery insurance specialist, Brian Robertson.