Weekly Growler Fill | National Beer News Roundup
Laws, laws and more laws. All around the country, states are scrambling to either put more restrictions on the brewing industry or introduce legislation to support it. Find out if your state is moving forwards or backwards with all of the details in this edition of the Weekly Growler Fill.
In Indiana, laws limit customers to liquor stores when buying cold beer to-go. However, a local convenience store chain found a sneaky way around the law. Ricker’s, the convenience store in question, realized that selling burritos in-store helped them meet the requirements to purchase the same type of liquor license as a restaurant/bar. Ricker’s started selling cold products and lawmakers (and their lobbyist bff’s) got pissed. State legislators quickly jumped into action, introducing an amendment that would make buying cold beer at a convenience store illegal once again. To be clear, convenience stores can already sell beer, just not cold beer. The amendment is expected to be introduced this week.
I’d like to take a step back for a second a shine a light on what’s happening here. Legislators in Indiana literally jumped into action the second a convenience store started selling cold beer rather than warm beer, but they barely budged over the uproar about the Religious Freedom Act. Once again, another smooth move from Indiana legislators. [Read full article]
We’ve been talking about beer laws in Maryland for weeks, with Guinness building a new brewery in the state and hoping to raise the caps on beer served in a taproom. As previously mentioned, Guinness had joined forces with the Brewers Association of Maryland, to lobby for raised caps for all. However, the new laws don’t exactly support the breweries as intended. In all, three bills were introduced: HB1391 which raises the taproom cap for Guinness, HB1420 which creates a new class of brewery and raises the taproom cap for breweries statewide, and HB1283 which raises the taproom cap, but decreases the time a brewery can stay open (9 or 10pm in most places). In all of this, legislators forgot to include the provisions that allowed breweries to give away free samples on tours. Plus, these new bills limit contract brewers to selling beer only in the taprooms of the breweries at which they brew. Despite HB1420 having 50 co-sponsors and HB1283 only have 11, both passed unanimously in the Maryland House of Delegates. The Brewers Association quickly put out a statement saying, “The bill [HB1283] proposes fundamental setbacks to our brewers’ businesses, and was originally crafted without input by the Maryland beer community.” The mandated closing times would force breweries to lay-off workers and contract breweries would not be able to continue under their current model with the sales restrictions. The bills head to the Senate this week and the Brewers Association is hoping to tack on amendments that will remove the closing time limits and the restrictions on contract breweries. [Read full draft]
Montana, like the rest of the country, is revamping its barrel limits. Under current state law, small breweries are limited to a production cap of 10,000 barrels/year. House Bill 541 would change that, raising the limits to 60,000 barrels/year. Last week, nearly a dozen brewers headed to the Senate to testify in support of the bill, which already passed the House in February. The bill is currently waiting approval from the Business, Labor, and Economic Affairs committee. [Read full article]
Like Montana, Nevada is also hoping to raise the production caps. The Silver State is working on passing SB 130, which raises caps from 15,000 barrels/year to 30,000 barrels/year. You’d think that a state like Nevada would be booming with booze, but that is not the case. The state currently only has a little over 30 breweries. This pales in comparison to neighboring states like Arizona, which has 75+ breweries and California, which has 750+ breweries. Check out the video below for more details. [Read full article]