*This story has been updated: It originally characterized this as a push for self-distribution, when it is really a push for self-retail. From an email we received, clarifying: “There was never a push for self-distribution rights for the breweries, only a push for self-retail sales (carry off premise) and tap rooms (consume onsite). No self-distribution period. We (Raise Your Pints) submitted the legislation this year for the MS breweries.” Self-retail can be an important, early step for a lot of local craft breweries to establish their brand and grow business — but it’s not a universal right. Some states do not allow it. The craft brewers in one of those states, Mississippi, are starting to speak up and change that. In doing so, they have received resistance from local distributors. From The Clarion Ledger:
“We are not trying to break new ground here,” said Quinby Chunn, owner of Southern Prohibition Brewing in Hattiesburg. “I don’t want a handout. I don’t want a tax break, and I don’t want to disrupt the three-tiered system … This would be a win for us, and a win for the distributors. The people who try it will buy it at a grocery store or restaurant next time.”
Mississippi only features eight craft breweries at the moment. According to the article, the brewers and distributors testified before the House Temperance Subcommittee of Ways and Means last week.
Distributors say they already work to help the craft brewers sell their beer, and that changing the law could have “unintended consequences.”