As an expert in liquor Privatization for Pennsylvania Bob explains what the goal of the privatization movement is about and some new bills introduced in the PA General Assembly to slowly accomplish this. Do these bills go far enough or are they just causing new problems down the road?
Whether it is beer, spirits, wine……or perhaps fermented Mares Milk alcohol has always been a part of a culture even when regimes try to restrict its consumption. Kevin’s book “Moonshine” discusses the history of DIY distilling as a history of criminality and the human ingenuity that has prevailed out of officials’ sights: from cleverly designed stills to the secret smuggling operations that got the goods to market.
Not to mention we dive into Drinksreform.org and uncover the movements each state is undertaking to reform their antiquated and outdated liquor laws. Whether its abv limits, forced distribution, licensing issues, etc there is bound to be a battle brewing in your state!
Drinksreform.org is the perfect site to stay up to date and figure out where your state stands and what still can be done!
Jarrett Dieterle, the governance project fellow with the R Street Institute and a fellow alcohol policy expert, breaks down the issues at hand in future distilling battles. Virginia has some of the most onerous restrictions on distillers than any other state and is stifling the growth of multiple award winning companies by overzealous regulations. When we think of
Virginia has some of the most onerous restrictions on distillers, more so than many other states and is stifling the growth of multiple award winning companies by overzealous regulations. Regulations promoted by special interest lobbies using the law at the expense of the little guy. When we think of whiskey a few big names come to mind, but why won’t we let local entrepreneurs succeed in their own way?
Be sure to check out Jarrett’s recent article Fighting for Booze Equality on ‘Alcohol Alley’
The 2016 legislation was a collaborative effort among multiple alcohol-related industries, resulting in the defeat of 83 years of special-interest regulations stemming from prohibition. The game-changing reform opened markets for local brewers, granted property rights absent since 1920, and — more importantly — spurred innovation and job growth across Nebraska.
One year later, brewers are scrambling to save last year’s reform from a bill drafted in secrecy between wholesalers and the very same state legislator who sponsored last year’s free-enterprise bill.
LB1105, sponsored by Sen. Tyson Larson passed 45-2 in 2016. A major part of the bill allowed breweries to operate up to five total retail locations per license, moving beer between their locations without a distributor. If a brewery brewed more than 20,000 barrels of beer a year, the law let breweries keep ownership of their retail locations, where in the past all retail or brewpub locations would need to be closed or sold, destroying dozens of jobs in the process.
Although the change may seem trivial, in the world of alcohol regulations brewers face some of the most arcane regulations, governing nearly every step from production to bringing beer to market. Even the smallest reform in licensing or securing property rights could be a game changer for brewers trying to expand their businesses and keeping up with demand ahead of the competition.
Should the recently introduced LB632 become law, Nebraska brewers would once again be in danger of losing business and sacrificing jobs in the face of stifling regulations. It would mean halted growth and having to rethink hiring expectations, perhaps even layoffs. The bill would create capricious hurdles for how beer could be distributed and sold in the Cornhusker State.
“We were completely caught off guard,” Kavulak said. “We had no notice any legislation was going to be brought up this year. Neither the Brewers Guild or the state Liquor Control Commission were consulted.”
“Come January 18, the last day to introduce legislation, we face a legal battle with disastrous consequences for small brewers across the state,” he added.
Adding to the surprise, neither Sen. Larson nor the state Wholesaler Association would speak to the Brewers Guild for weeks after multiple requests for clarification.
“We had no idea why he would do this, and still have no idea for the motivation behind this complete turnaround by Sen. Larson.” Kavulak added. “Last year, brewers brought together wholesalers, the state Liquor Control Commission, and legislators to the table to negotiate the unopposed reform. Now, without notice we find ourselves shocked that an unopposed bill would be slated for repeal one year later. This bill threatens dozens of brewers growth so we all felt compelled to take action.”
Wholesalers across the country have deep lobbying roots and deep pockets to oppose any free market-oriented regulation. Typically, wholesalers draft and support legislation that forces brewers to use wholesaler services law. Brewers and wholesalers are fighting over basic private property rights in North Carolina, Texas, and Florida.
The laws that small brewers are trying to have repealed are the same laws large corporations such as Budweiser, Miller and Coors have used since prohibition to squelch competition. The excuses are many but supporters of these prohibition era regulations will cite safety concerns, health issues, and “fairness.” However, these laws have nothing to do with any those issues and everything to do with lobbying to create a state-sanctioned monopoly at the expense of entrepreneurs, consumers and economic opportunity.
Brewers like Kim Kavulak say they only want to pursue their craft free from coercion. These entrepreneurs are only looking to sell a quality product while creating a responsible and lively culture around our beloved brews. Kavulak has enough on her plate as a small business owner without having to battle against billion-dollar companies using politics at the expense of others.
Be on the lookout for KillTheBill events in Nebraska, but odds are no matter where you live local brewers are brewing up a battle for liberty and may soon need your support too!
To hear the interview on the “Free To Brew” podcast with Kim Kavulak click here.
(Colum first printed at Opportunity Lives)
Kim Kavulak is fighting back to save 1-year-old reform from special interest groups trying to not only repeal reform but increase the hurdles a small brewery must overcome. LB1105 passed in 2016 bringing sweeping reform for brewers in Nebraska, now LB632 threatens to repeal key parts of last years reform and mandate a “come to rest” law on all beer sold. Kim alongside brewers across the state are joining together to promote #dontkillourcraft to stop this special interest cronyism.
Be sure to check out full article with Kim at Opportunity Lives