News Beer Regulation Roundup from

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by DoubleJ, Aug 14, 2012.

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  1. DoubleJ

    DoubleJ Poo-Bah (5,353) Oct 13, 2007 California
    Beer Trader

    Lots of beer related content in this edition, and most of it is good news. I'll highlight the beer news

    Alabama: is expecting an influx of new beers in coming weeks thanks to a change in the law that now allows beer to be packaged in bottles as large as 25.4 ounces where previously they were limited to 16 ounces in most of the state.

    Arizona: The new growler laws go into effect this month allowing restaurants to fill the take-home jugs where before only microbreweries and brewpubs were allowed to do this.

    California: beers aged in used wine barrels are officially still legally considered beer. Last month Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bipartisan bill ensuring that microbreweries don’t have to worry about aging beer in wine/liquor barrels. Some in the industry feared that because the beer derived some of its flavor from the barrels which previously held wine or liquor, that the beer might be considered a distilled spirit by the state, which would require much higher taxes.

    Massachusetts: Braintree, a small town south of Boston, has decided to maintain its odd prohibition against pitcher of beer. I guess their name is ironic, like calling a big guy “Tiny.”

    Mississippi: News flash for anyone who hasn’t studied economics: reduced restrictions results in a business boom. In the wake of Mississippi’s alcohol regulation relaxation — increase the cap on the alcohol content of beer from 5 percent ABW to 8 percent ABW (about 10 percent ABV) customers have significantly increased purchases of microbrews. The owner of Hops and Habanas, a bottle shop in Mississippi, claims that he’s seen seven times the normal volume of customers since the switch. Beer festivals in the state also expect a bump in attendance with the addition of 10 new breweries and new beers from already existing Mississippi breweries.

    New Hampshire: Congratulations to Red Hook brewery and all of the other defenders of liberty in New Hampshire on news laws increasing brewer freedom. In June, Gov. Lynch signed a bill allowing craft brewers in the state to include “non-beverage” ingredients in their beers, such as molasses, spices, honey, maple syrup, chocolate, and nuts.

    New Jersey: Beer advocates in the Garden State are optimistic that a bipartisan craft brewer’s bill will get the governor’s signature this year, increasing the state’s appeal as a location for new brewers as well as for tourists. Among other things, A-1277 would allow microbreweries to sell their beer to visitors for on or off-site consumption (with off-site sales limited to half a keg per customer). It would also increase the amount microbrewers could make each ear from 3,000 to 10,000 barrels a year while still maintaining their “micro” status. It also allows brewpub operators to have up to 10 locations instead of the current maximum of two.

    New York: Awesome news for small brewers in the Empire State — Governor Cuomo signed the small brewer’s bill which allows brewers producing less than 300,000 barrels a year to more easily end contracts with their distributors. While many states make it almost impossible (either through legal or financial barriers) for small brewers to end contracts with distributors — even if they perform poorly — the new law allows small brewers or brewers making up less than 3 percent of the distributor’s sales, to terminate agreements if they provide “fair market value” for the cancelled contract (which would be determined in arbitration). As Scott Vacaro, founder of captain Lawrence Brewery in Elmsford put it, “Gone are the days when a distributor can basically promise you the moon and deliver next to nothing.”

    Texas: Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) official changed the definition of a beer in Texas. This is good news because the state’s quirky former rules resulted in a lot of headaches for brewers who had to change their labels or stay off of Texas shelves altogether. The definition change follows a ruling last December after the TABC was sued by the owners of Jester King Brewery who insisted the labeling laws violated their first amendment right to free speech. The law in question was the TABC’s requirement that drinks with more than 4 percent alcohol by weight be labeled as either ale or malt liquor and are prohibited from being labeled as a “beer.” Now brewers may call their product whatever they feel is appropriate — so long as they list the alcohol percentage on the bottle.

    Also in Texas: The Lone Star State could be $5.6 billion richer — all they would need to do is change some of their alcohol laws, according to a study commissioned by the Texas Craft Brewers Guild. According to the study, 92 percent of the state is experiencing a craft beer shortage due to restrictions and market barriers upheld by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code (TABC). Removing these barriers would result in the additional billions of dollars based on current sales projected growth of the craft beer industry.
    Bluecane likes this.
  2. 3leven

    3leven Initiate (0) Jun 28, 2012 Texas

    And I thought oklahoma had some f'd up laws. Ironically, people go to Texas to get beers we can't in this state. Now I'm curious how it compares, really.
  3. H0rnedFr0gs

    H0rnedFr0gs Disciple (303) Mar 12, 2012 Texas
    Beer Trader

    The OP just nicked the iceberg on Texas' craft beer problems. We do get a generous amount of great national beers, but distribution in Texas is weighted for those with $ and seriously limits new or smaller brewers.
  4. RochesterAaron

    RochesterAaron Initiate (68) May 24, 2007 New York

    Wonder if this means Western, NY will see Captain Lawrence?
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