There is a craft beer revolution trying to gain steam in the South, and hopefully craft brewers will start winning some of these legislative battles. We talked about the fairly ridiculous issues happening in Georgia last week, and this week we spotlight the plight of craft brewers in Kentucky.
So, get this: craft breweries in Kentucky that brew up to 25,000 bbls are considered microbreweries and allowed to operate a tasting room to sell those bbls of beer. Over that arbitrary cap? Sorry — need to shut down that tasting room; you know, one of the major business tools that allowed the brewery to hit that mark in the first place.
From WFPL in Kentucky:
Many of the state’s craft beer-makers are starting to approach the 25,000 barrel ceiling, which would force them to either stop growth or close down their taprooms, said Adam Watson, president of the Kentucky Guild of Brewers.
“The taprooms are not only vital revenue centers for our businesses but also centers of employment, community gathering and innovation, as well as drivers of economic activity,” Watson said.
The brewers’ guild is trying to get that cap doubled to 50,000 bbls. Is this an unreasonable request? Well, if we just look nearby for comparisons, the Indiana legislature recently raised the cap for microbrewers from 60,000 barrels per year to 90,000. And Ohio, the greatest state in the Union (and home to CBB), currently has a 2 million barrel per year limit.
State lawmakers may be ready to entertain this argument and help the industry grow. From that same WFPL article:
Republican state Sen. Damon Thayer, the majority leader, said he doesn’t understand why the state caps microbreweries’ production in the first place.
“It should not be up to government to set these artificial caps on commerce,” Thayer said. “It should be allowed for the free market to dictate to you how much beer you can produce. Because you know how much you can make, you know how much you can sell. Let’s let the market and the free enterprise system decide this.”
Here’s hoping logic prevails. For more on the Kentucky Guild of Brewers, head to the group’s website.