"What's become clear is that the majority of syrup produced in the state of Vermont is sold in national and international markets," Ross said.
Vermont will maintain its distinct branding by labeling its syrup as coming from the state. Connoisseurs will continue to appreciate that Vermont regulations will continue to require boiling sap for longer than is the case elsewhere, producing a slightly denser product, Ross said. But to continue using a separate grading system would lead to consumer confusion, the secretary added.
Doug Bragg, an eighth-generation syrup producer from East Montpelier, said he was taking the changes in stride.
"Most of our customers are asking, why do we have to do this? There's a logic to it, no question about it," Bragg said. "It's still annoying though."
Back at the Senate office, where Lt. Gov. Phil Scott was chatting Friday afternoon with the five-member staff, there was broad agreement that people would get used to the changes. The only real debate was over the best grade.
Office assistant Roxy Quero said her preference was for fancy grade, but Scott said he preferred medium amber. Deputy Senate Secretary Steve Marshall said the darker the better for him.
"I usually go with grade B, grade C if I can get it, but you have to know somebody," Marshall said. "Grade C isn't sold as syrup at retail; it's usually used in baked goods or maple candy.
"I'd take double D if you gave me some," Marshall said.