Name: Mitchell Ancona

Title: Owner

Organization or Agency: Ancona’s Wines and Liquors




Dear Members of the Connecticut General Law Committee,

My name is Mitchell Ancona. My Grandfather Joseph Ancona, emigrated from Italy in the early 1900’s, at the end of prohibition he opened a “package” store. When he passed away, my father Nazzareno Ancona, took the helm, and when he passed in 2004, I purchased the business, one that I had been managing since 1988, from my mother Carol Ancona. We are currently entering into our 91st year in business. I mention all of that simply to say that this industry has been a major part of my life for my entire life.

To start I want to make a simple point. Never in the history of our industry has a legal product been introduced that directly competes with beverage alcohol. I would like to commend you for recognizing that this product needs to be looked at closely. As I will mention later, I agree with some of your thoughts in HB05150 as it pertains to hemp based THC beverages. I think there are certain regulations that need to be implemented immediately. Others should be analyzed and discussed further when there is more time. As the proverb goes “haste makes waste”.

Currently I’m finding our consumers are searching for alternatives to alcohol. The rise of “Dry January” and “Sober October” should be seen as a clear message that the consumer is re-thinking their alcohol consumption. The increase in the number of AF (alcohol free) and “Alc-Alt (alcohol alternative) beverages , including hemp based THC beverages, in the CT market place is another clear indication that the consumer is desiring “substitutes” to their glass of wine, cocktail or beer. The majority the wholesalers that we work with have added new AF, Alt-Alc to there portfolios.

Ours sales figures support the change in consumer desires. Our beverage alcohol sales have been declining since 2022, while our AF product sales have been increasing.

We now carry over 120 different AF and Alc-Alt beverages including, non-alc wine, non-alc beer, CBD based beverages, adaptogen drinks, alcohol free mixers, non-alc spirits, mocktails and hemp based THC seltzers and mocktails.

After doing our due diligence as far as the legality of selling hemp derived THC beverages, we began stocking these items in all three of our locations. We treated these products as if they were another “liquor based” product. I personally tried these products. Since it was a brand new category, I wanted to be able to educate our curious clients with “real life” personal experience”. I found them to be a “nice alternative” to drinking beverage alcohol and our sales figures confirm that our consumers feel the same way. We currently stock 30 different Hemp based THC beverages. We’ve sold close to 400 cases of these items since mid-2023. This is second in sales only to our alcohol-free beer sales with over 700 cases for the same time frame.

My thought would be to treat hemp based THC beverages similar to the way we treat a  “spirit” based alcohol product.

  • 21+ to purchase,
  • only available in dispensaries and liquor stores (for now, can be expanded in the future),
  • flows through the traditional “three tier” distribution system,
  • product labels registered with the state,
  • impose similar fair taxation, 
  • keep the 5mg THC per container (1mg THC per serving) regulation in place, but keep an open mind as to where this new segment might go in the future.
  • Same penalties for selling to a minor that are currently in place for alcohol.

Some other aspects that need to be considered: Hemp based THC beverages being shipped DTC from out of state, on-premise consumption, additional license to sell (similar to tobacco)

I truly believe that there is a “middle” ground that we can all be happy with. One that benefits the consumer, retailer, wholesaler, supplier and the state.

Thank you for your time, 


Mitchell Ancona


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SAVE 6%* when you buy 6-11 bottles of wine.
SAVE 12%* when you buy 12 or more bottles of wine.

*Discount applies to 750ml only and does not apply to sale items.

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