I rarely feel need to chime in and many of these ideas have been stated in forms by others, but… 1. The Sheltons should not refer to the products they resell as their small breweries…those breweries literally belong to the hardworking people behind them in Belgium etc. The reputations of the brewers and that of the importer are not one in the same, although one can certainly affect the other. Having lived in Belgium, and met many of those people whose beer the Sheltons represent, I can tell you that the business is important to their hard-earned livelihoods; many of the brewers depend on an overwhelming percentage of their sales coming from exports to the US. The point is, the Shelton bro’s should not be winging product around in an effort to make more (or spend less), whilst using artwork (beer that hardworking craftsmen created) as moral cover for their (Sheltons’) personal gain. They are dealers not artists and they get their product at a fair price and then resell it under the laws that allow them to… 2. I find it hard to believe that the Sheltons, who buy their beer at a fair (and likely generally stable) price have the interest of their “little foreign breweries” at heart. They have put those they represent at risk through these actions, and have worsened the position by attacking critics of the Sheltons’ actions. I doubt that the Sheltons intended to cause a reduced shelf price of their imports by reducing the cost of putting those beers on NY retailers’ shelves. Why would they lower the cost for the consumer who is already accustomed to paying the current price, when they could just turn more profit. Even if they did lower prices, would the retailer too lower his prices and allow the savings to trickle down to the consumer? Little argued in the Sheltons’ statement would really benefit the most important players in the situation: the consumers and the brewers. 3. As a general rule, it’s not good to throw others under the proverbial bus…especially respected peers. I think that one could legitimately believe that the Sheltons were trying to get a more fair footing for their products, which is understandable. The fact that this backfired (for lack of a better term) and dragged NY Brewers into a situation that someone will pay for (whether the consumer through price increases or the brewers by not changing the cost of their product by even a fraction of a cent) is unfortunate, and surely unforeseen. That said, even if the law is now more “equal” to all, the Sheltons initiated this awkward change of circumstances and should not try to cover what should be embarrassment by berating those negatively affected and those who support this stance. The Sheltons dropped the ball, and then dragged others under the bus…however unintentional, the respectable thing to do would be to admit their role in this and certainly not try to drag others’ names through the dirt. Whether, those-who-will-not-be-named deserved to be dragged under or not should not be a matter of public scruitiny simply because misery loves company…the Sheltons should by doubly shamed; don’t dime out your buddies and then don’t try to drag others into the muck you caused. I’m not sure that someone can cause pain for others and then tell them to sack-it-up and still maintain a positive image. 4. On top of pissing off the NY Brewers and making more trouble for them, the Sheltons are now pressuring the same folks to fight off rules (that the Sheltons caused, to an extent, to come into effect) on their behalf; to share the pain. The ruling may be “fair”, but don’t blame people for being upset that the ruling is a great inconvenience. Whether or not the hate “dissipates,” NY Brewers are left little choice now but to spend resources seeking further changes. Brewers will probably not go out of business and consumers will still buy the beer, just like they are forced to pay higher prices on gas…in a grudging fashion. 5. Going back to point 1 for a moment, as the Sheltons have stirred up this ridiculous crap-storm (whether constitutionally correct, morally driven, or motivated by person gain) they have splattered some of said crap upon the image of the hard working foreign craftsmen who rely upon the Sheltons to represent them (not just sell their beer). A grudge should not be held against these foreign brewers by the consumers for the ills of their representatives, but rather a change should be called for where those brewers are represented by someone who has their interests/business (both economic and reputation…which tend to go hand in hand) at heart. It happens to public figures, politicians, and Monday-Night-Football-theme-song-singers too…you shed a negative image on those your represent, you go. 6. Don’t insult the consumers; they are the reason you have a good job. Be bigger than the hateful people and you won’t look foolish. 7. I don’t know how the Sheltons can credibly call NY State’s ruling fair and then call the states rules “money-making schemes” and then say that the state (or its laws) are discriminatory when the intent of their argument from the beginning was to make more money themselves. It appears convenient to hide the failure to increase profits (or at least decrease costs) behind arguments that alcohol laws are out of date (that is obvious) or that they were ever fighting for the greater good for the out of state brethren…remember they are an importer, not brewer. It may not appear from these statements that I support the Sheltons’ idea that there should be a more even playing field for all beer-related companies, I do…just not at the expense of creating this situation which both poisons and polarizes those who could be working together. The Sheltons can blame the “emotional types” for “vilifying” them; but with this tirade, they appear to invite (even incite?) the emotions while vilifying themselves. 8. Last, if the “Albany Beer Party” does go down as proposed, perhaps those of us who still enjoy the little foreign brewers’ beers will be able to fish the bottles out of whichever body of water resides in Albany and find them cleansed of the aforementioned crap, unscathed by a company’s attempt to use their innocence as a shield in a battle for profit and unharmed by a brewers desperate act to hurl such treasures to the depths where no one could enjoy them until rediscovered years from now, sold on ebay, and put on a shelf next to a bottle of Alllsopp’s Arctic Ale. Long story short, I understand the Sheltons’ argument, agree with (but don’t like) the result of the ruling, don’t respect the Sheltons’ backlash to the beer community and their right to a free opinion (as a professional seeking the support of consumers one might choose to limit their free opinion…or not J ) and I don’t like that I don’t have much of a choice in who I buy some of my favorite imports from; this is like listening to the top 10 count-down on clear channel radio and thinking you ever had a real choice in what they played. I guess Im lucky that I purchased my beer from the brewers direct and brought my beer collection back to the States on my own.