Nebraska’s craft breweries have a nice common sense carve out for themselves in the state’s alcohol distribution laws. As currently written, there is an exemption that allows for craft breweries to send their beer right to retail locations as long as it’s transported via a licensed distributor. What’s so cool about that? Well, this avoids the costs and fairly nonsensical requirement of needing to first send the beer to a distribution warehouse to “rest,” before going right back out down the road to the liquor store. And remember, this is Nebraska — that distributor is very likely hundreds of miles away.
Wait a second. Nice? Common sense? Not nonsensical? This must mean the state government is looking to change it.
Whoa, good guess. According to the Omaha World-Herald, LB 632, as originally proposed, would have required a brewer to first ship its products to a distributor’s warehouse, and then ship it to a bar or restaurant. Part of the reason this came about, as we mentioned, is this just applies to in-state craft breweries, so the distributors association and parties outside out of the state have floated the threat of legal action to end the unfairness. The other part is state regulators believe excise taxes are paid on time and more accurately when first logged in at a distributor. Craft brewers dispute this, citing that it’s the 21st century, and we have mobile computing machines.
Tuesday, Mike Madigan of Minneapolis, an attorney hired by a Nebraska liquor distribution association, told reporters in a conference call that a lawsuit was a certainty unless LB 632 included the at rest provision.
But Wednesday, Blood and others said that the threat was a scare tactic and that requiring craft brewers to ship to a warehouse would be a “job killer.”
Larson said he might hold his own bill from being debated further this year because of the addition of the pro-craft brewers amendment.
Luckily, an amendment was attached to the bill that kept the original exemption in place. Twist ending! Hooray.