When it comes to Kentucky’s euphoric commodities, craft beer might be last on the list of popular purchases made in and out of the state. It’s bourbon country for starters, known more for whiskey barrels than beer bbls. Fried chicken certainly ranks over KY beer brands and maybe even over horses when it comes to stereotyping Kentucky’s rich culture. Hell, we’ve probably smoked more Kentucky bluegrass than drank craft beers from the Appalachian Arcadia, and we’re right next door in Ohio. But that might all soon change.
Senate Bill 11 is hoping to expand the craft scene specifically for “microbreweries,” which are now limited to 25,000 bbls a year for maximum production. We quote this article from WDRB:
Microbreweries can open pubs and restaurants, but only if they stay within the barrel limit. It’s a perk that comes with being a small business.
“But if we as a microbrewery brew 24,999 barrels of beer, we then have to choose to either continue brewing or close down all of our retail locations, including our pub at slugger field,” said [Against the Grain co-owner Adam] Watson. “But there’s no real reason we should have to make that decision.”
It’s a cap state Senator Morgan McGarvey is trying to raise with Senate Bill 11.
What else will this bill do?
1. Senate Bill 11 would also amend KRS 243.130, 243.155, and 243.157 to allow employees of distillers, rectifiers, wineries, small farm wineries and microbreweries to sample their employer’s products for purposes of education, quality control and product development.
That’s a no brainer, right?
2. Increase the annual production limit for microbreweries from 25,000 barrels to 50,000 barrels.
We discussed that above, remember? Too much chronic, right?
3. Authorize a microbrewery to sell its products by the drink or package at fairs, festivals and similar events.
That last provision is a pretty big deal as well (especially the definition of “similar events”). That provision is a small, but important step for the brewer, giving them more power to self-distribute and skip past the wholesaler that is supposedly in charge of alcohol distribution in the United States. We’ll keep you up to date on the bill, but supporters hope to have it passed by this legislative session, according to the WDRB article above. To read the full bill, cruise on over here. Just make sure you grab a beer first.