A law allowing breweries, wineries (including cider makers) and distilleries to sell products at licensed farmer's markets went into effect in March. The stipulations are that all alcohol must be produced in Washington, and that all alcohol sold is in sealed bottles or cans for off-premise consumption, though samples will be allowed.
FreshFarm's Maddy Beckwith said the market's intention is to rotate between different distilleries and brewers each week, to keep the lineup fresh. The number of alcohol vendors each week hasn't been determined yet.
Dupont Circle, the busiest of FreshFarm's 13 weekly markets, is the only location that will have alcohol in 2016. The permit allowing beer, wine (including cider) and spirits costs $500 per year, "which is not insignificant for a not-for-profit like us," Beckwith says. So consider this a test case: "If it turns out to be awesome, we might apply [for permits] for more markets next year."
"It's a fun thing," says New Columbia Distillers co-founder John Uselton. "There aren't many cities that allow this." Uselton is looking forward to pouring small samples of Greet Hat gins and Capitoline vermouth the first week and says the real benefit is that "We get in front of a bunch of people. On a good day, they get 4,000 or 5,000 people there," which is far more than visit New Columbia on an average weekend.
Once the program is up and running, Beckwith hopes to talk to vendors "to see if anyone would be willing to make an "'exclusively available at FreshFarm market' beer or blend, maybe partnering with a farmer or multiple farmers" who set up in Dupont Circle.
For now, though, it will be enough to be able to grab a six-pack along with a hunk of cheese.
Dupont Circle FreshFarm market, 20th Street NW between Massachusetts Avenue and Hillyer Place. freshfarmmarkets.org.