BWDA's Members Want to Help Craft Brewers Grow -- They Fully Support the Arizona Beer Bill, SB 1030!
In 2014, craft beer grew another 18 percent -- and there's been double-digit growth for the last 10+ years. That's an American success story facilitated by an independent distribution system. Without an independent system, larger brewers would be able to penalize distributors for taking on new brands from microbrewers.
The distributors who compose BWDA are strongly committed to helping bring new craft beers from our state and around the country to market. We see craft brewers as essential business partners, not competitors, and they very much want to help craft brewers promote and sell their beers to consumers in Arizona.
Arizona's three-tier system of regulating beer production and sales is time-tested and it benefits consumers by generating tremendous choice in beer products. Craft brewers benefit because as they grow they can partner with independent distributors who invest in new brands to market and sell to retailers across the United States.
For these reasons, BWDA is proud to partner with the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild to advance legislation in the 2015 session of the Arizona Legislature, to preserve jobs and help in the growth of microbrewers ... SB 1030, the Arizona Beer Bill. Here's a link to SB 1030, in its introduced form. And here are some FAQs that our two organizations jointly drafted:
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Arizona Beer Bill, SB 1030:
What is the Arizona Beer Bill?
The Arizona Beer Bill, SB 1030, is legislation proposed by the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild and the Beer and Wine Distributors of Arizona. It seeks to address what happens to our breweries as they grow from microbreweries to producers. As it stands now under Arizona law, breweries that produce less than 40,000 barrels a year are called microbreweries. Microbreweries are able to open tasting rooms, restaurants and bars, and have limited self-distribution rights. Producers, on the other hand, can brew an unlimited amount of beer, but cannot self-distribute or open restaurants, bars, or any other type of retail establishment that sells alcohol.
The Arizona Beer Bill is designed to answer the following question: What happens to a microbrewery that grows to produce more than 40,000 barrels a year? Our state law now says that those microbreweries will be converted to a producer's licenses. The law, however, is silent on what happens to the restaurants, tasting rooms and the brewery's ability to sell beer directly to the public.
There are some folks in the liquor industry who feel that once a brewery reaches 40,000 barrels a year, it should have to close or sell all the restaurants, bars and tasting rooms it owns. We strongly disagree. Tasting rooms, restaurants and pubs are vital to Arizona's breweries and they have proven to be instrumental in growing the craft brewing industry and creating jobs in Arizona. They are home to some of our best neighborhood social establishments. Our Arizona Beer Bill seeks to allow our growing microbreweries to keep their tasting rooms, bars and restaurants, and not shut down establishments that have been part of our local communities for several years, employing thousands of people.
The Arizona Beer Bill, quite simply, allows craft breweries to plan for the future. Our bill strengthens the three-tier system (the current regulatory system for the production, distribution, and sale of alcohol) upon which the craft beer movement was founded, and ensures the growth of a tremendously successful industry.
I am with a media organization. Where can I get more information?
You may contact Bettina Nava at FirstStrategic, at Bettina@firststrategic.com
Who supports SB 1030, the Arizona Beer Bill?
SB 1030, the Arizona Beer Bill, is fully supported by over 65 organizations and companies from across Arizona: all 11 member companies of the Beer and Wine Distributors of Arizona, all 57 microbrewers who make up the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild, the many bars, restaurants and taverns that comprise the Arizona Licensed Beverage Association, and other organizations in the industry. As we move along with the legislative process, we hope to obtain more support from other industry and business associations. As organizations and businesses express their support, we will post it on www.azbeerbill.com.
When will Arizona legislators vote on SB 1030, the Arizona Beer Bill?
SB 1030 was pre-filed on January 9, 2015 with the 52nd Arizona Legislature and will be considered during the next regular legislative session, which begins on January 12, 2015. Initial voting on our bill is likely to occur in late January, around the week of the 26th.
What can we do? Who can we call?
First, we encourage you to show your support for SB 1030, the Arizona Beer Bill, by clicking on this link and signing the Petition we intend to share with Arizona lawmakers. Over 3,500 people have signed it, in only the first three days since we put it online!
You may also call or email your returning legislators and other state legislative candidates and say that you are in support of SB 1030, the Arizona Beer Bill. They are the ones that have the authority and duty to enact laws, and they need to know that the craft beer industry is important to Arizona voters. Please continue to visit our website and follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and we will keep you updated and ask for your help once the legislation is being considered in the legislative committees.
What if we repealed the three-tier system? That would solve the problem, wouldn't it?
The three-tier system is the current regulatory system for the production, distribution, and sale of alcohol. As a general rule, having separation and independence between the three tiers is very beneficial, because it ensures against marketplace domination by a few huge players and fosters fairness and arms-length, good faith dealing. An independent middle tier is what allows smaller, newer products the chance to enter the market and become discovered by consumers. Without independent distributors, especially those that make up the Beer and Wine Distributors of Arizona, hundreds of brands of craft beer would not be available at Arizona's local restaurants, bars, grocery stores and all the other places customers purchase alcohol. In fact, craft beer sales have been growing consistently year after year this past decade and longer – over 18% growth in 2013. So the answer is definitely no -- repealing the three-tier system would certainly not solve the problem. In fact it would undoubtedly make it worse for craft brewers and consumers.
What else does the Arizona Beer Bill do?
SB 1030 also fixes a current inequity in state law which allows farm wineries to sell the wines produced by other licensed farm wineries, but does not allow microbreweries to sell the beer produced by other microbreweries, if they only have a tasting room and not a bar or restaurant license. Our bill extends this right to sell other beers as a matter of fairness. And, it would allow the sale of craft beer brewed through collaborative efforts between microbrewers, such as the “Heroes 19” beer produced jointly with the help of many Guild members (and BWDA members), where 100% of the proceeds went to aid the families of the nineteen brave firefighters who perished battling the Yarnell, AZ fire in 2013.
What are other states doing about this?
Many states recognize that craft beer is a growing industry that leads to a significant amount of job creation and tax revenue. This is particularly true in our neighboring states, such as Colorado, California, Oregon and Washington, where craft beer laws also allow for the growth - and not suppression - of an exciting American industry.
ABOUT THE ARIZONA CRAFT BREWERS GUILD:
The Arizona Craft Brewers Guild was established in 1998 and represents 47 microbreweries across the state. The guild promotes the craft brewing industry in Arizona by providing educational opportunities to brewers, distributors and consumers. The guild promotes quality craft beers and the responsible consumption of those products. For further information on The Arizona Craft Brewers Guild, please visit www.craftbeeraz.com or contact Rob Fullmer, Executive Director at firstname.lastname@example.org