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Grant's to cease cider production.

Yakima Brewing and Malting Co, Washington state's first microbrewery, will stop production of its popular hard apple cider because of federal pressure.

The brewery, which makes several beers and ales sold under the Grant's name, will shift to production of an apple-flavored malt beverage if the federal government approves, company officials said.

"It's going to be a dead ringer for the cider, but it's slightly sweeter," said Sherry Grant, the brewery president.

Cider production was halted in April when the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms classified the drink as a wine rather than a beer.

The brewer decided to drop the product rather than seek certification as a winery, Grant said.

The federal agency said Yakima Brewing may owe wine taxes dating to 1984, when the cider was first produced. A final decision has not been made.

Grant said the halt in cider production caused a 6.5 percent drop in sales in July. It was one of seven beverages made by the company.

Cider accounted for about 5 percent of the brewery's $1.8 million in sales in 1992, Grant said.

None of the company's 45 employees will be cut because of the decision, she said.

The brewery ran into trouble with ATF last year when it began pasting nutrition-information labels to its six-pack cartons in violation of federal law. The company stopped using the labels.
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Title Annotation:Yakima Brewing and Malting Co.'s Grant beer and ale brand
Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Date:Aug 23, 1993
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