Happy Saturday. It’s Saturday and I’m over here getting all serious about beer. If you’ve followed this space for any length of time, you will know I am fascinated by the patchwork mess that is the North American beer law system. I say North American because the laws in Canada and Mexico are just as screwed up as the ones in the United States. So today’s Five Articles are a bunch of law and business stories for your pleasure.
- Let’s start with this damn merger. If the worse thing to befall craft brewers because of this merger is that some of their international expansion plans are curtailed in Latin America and Africa, they will have won this merger. However, this article does highlight my major problem with most distribution laws as currently written: Getting out of distribution contracts is harder than getting out of a gang or the mob.
- Speaking of the merger and the companies directly involved, Labatt is purchasing a Canadian craft brewer. Labatt is owned by ABInbev and is one of the 3 owners of Ontario’s The Beer Store which at the moment is the only place you can buy beer for off-site consumption in Ontario. The other two owners of this silliness are Molson Coors and Sapporo. I told you beer laws were crazy all over.
- A state senator in Oklahoma has been trying to change one simple beer law for 10 years. The law written in 1959 makes it illegal for any store except liquor stores to sell beer over 3.2% ABV. The other thing the senator has found in just trying to change this law is how inconsistent and unfair to retailers and consumers the whole of the alcohol laws are in Oklahoma. Which is actually the same story in every state once people start trying to update even one law. It is like pulling a string on a sweater. Fixing one law unravels the whole thing.
- This is a sad story, but again it is at least in part caused by intrastate as well as interstate inconsistencies in alcohol laws.
- Let’s have some fun. The best thing about the GABF is it allows you to try beers from breweries not available in your home state. This writer tried at least one from every state and then ranked them. I pledge, at GABF 2016 I will try at least one beer from every state.