Laws and legislation. Growing pains and adolescence. One of the things that fascinate me about Major League Soccer is that we sports fans, specifically soccer fans, get to watch a top flight league grow and develop in real time. It is a messy and confounding thing to watch. There are 10 steps forward, two backwards, and three sideways at every phase of growth. Craft beer is kind of in the same position. Actually, a better analogy might be a band. Bands form and they play any show they can get and they sell music directly to potential fans and develop a loyal and strong following if they are good. Then, at some point, they go from being the little band that could to headlining their first tour. Then, they stop being just a band and become a business and they have business worries. That is where craft beer is now.
- Should the state of North Carolina be in the alcohol business? First, the state is tasked by the US Constitution to regulate alcohol in its borders, so the state will be involved in some capacity always. Second, if you want to change thegovernment’s level of involvement, good luck. That is a decades-long fight that no one has the stomach for right now. Politicians do things for two reasons. The first, to get their name associated with a bill that will create jobs and/or increase tax revenue. The second, to keep from being embarrassed. Unless and until, OMB, NoDa, and Red Oak can prove that allowing them to self-distribute more than 25000 barrels a year the legislation will languish in committee. In this case, embarrassment isn’t working because the distributors and big beer give enough money to make it not work.
- The point in your life when you realize you are at least partially a grown us is when you are faced with a decision between doing what you need to do to be responsible and doing what you want to do. When you start choosing the need to do direction you’re a grown up. Breweries suing smaller breweries over potential intellectual property issues is a need to do situation. This is my second prediction of what will happen this year in craft beer, craft beer will grow up and increasingly think of itself as a business.
- At no point in this article is there any mention about how any “beer” that they make tastes and that is why they will never win. They don’t care about the beer as beer. It is only a product to be sold.
- This is one case where embarrassment is working. The Georgia legislature passed a law that was written in part by big distributors. It has a Rube Goldberg feel to it that got exposed by the Department of Revenue. Now they are trying to fix it.
- Alabama steps into the 21st century as far as its beer laws are concerned. The craft beer people in Alabama did exactly what I said you have to do. They appealed to the legislators with more revenue and jobs. Politicians work to get reelected. Doing things that make them look good and/or raise tax revenues without raising taxes and provide jobs is how they get reelected. Either that or carrying the water for a lobbyist that gives them lots of money to go their reelection.