California Beer Bills: Round-Up of Proposed Beer Laws for 2014

The following is a list of bills introduced recently in the California Legislature and some summary information about what they would do. Nothing as sexy as AB 647 growler labeling from last year’s session is on the docket. But coupon-users, underage students, retailers stuck with off beer, and manufacturers sick and tired of people mutilating their metal kegs may be interested. April 2014 was unofficially California Craft Brewery Month, though the only fanfare it was received, as far as I can tell, was my updates on Twitter. The bill passed through the Assembly but now sits with the Senate Rules Committee.

I will try to keep information about them updated. They are easily searchable on http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/ using the keyword, “beer,” or of course, the bill number.

AB 2010–Introduced by Assembly Member Gray Feb 20, 2014

An act to amend BPC § 23104.2, and with a very recent amendent (6/12/14) repeal and add a new § 23389. This addition provides new language entirely  unrelated to returns for quality issues. It would provide a new structure for issuing duplicate licenses to that breweries can run “branch offices” (e.g., the Stone Store in Pasadena) that sell the brewer’s beer as though it is a brewing premises under the same license as the main brewery. Manufacturers would be limited to 6 duplicate licenses, two of which could be attached to a premises with a bona fide eating place (giving the brewer the ability to serve beer and wine from other producers under specified conditions).

The bill would allow retailers to return beer with “product quality issues” to sellers (and those sellers to manufacturers or importers). This would extend a current exception for beer that is recalled or that presents a health or safety issue to the general rule permitting wholesalers or manufacturers to accept return of beer “only if the beer is returned in exchange for the identical quantity and brand of beer.” Returns are permitted in the case of erroneous deliveries or when packaging is broken/damaging before delivery.

After the amendment, sellers can exchange the beer with product quality issues for the same beer if “quality-controlled product inventory” is available. Otherwise, the sellers may issue a credit or deferred exchange.  With the June 12 amendment, the language now specifies that any returns for quality issues are subject to ABC approval. Further, “aging of the beer” is not a condition qualifying it for a return.

 

Assembly Concurrent Resolution 116–Introduced by Chesbro (Co-author Senator Corbett)

The resolution proclaims April 2014 “California Craft Brewery Month.” Great news! As of late last week (May 23), thanks to a unanimous vote, APRIL 2014 IS officially California Craft Brewery Month. Let’s all go back to April and raise a toast.

The resolution has a number of fun WHEREAS clauses recognizing the importance and impact of the craft brewing movement in California. It also makes clear through historical references that California is where this movement got going back in the late 70s. It’s good to have that on the books, because a certain small New England-y state, probably because it happens to have the biggest craft brewery that has been around quite a while, has recently been calling itself the “epicenter” of the craft brewing movement in various news releases.

AB 1928–Introduced by Bocanegra Feb. 19, 2014

Per the legislative council’s digest (to add § 25600.3 to BPC):

This bill would prohibit a licensee authorized to sell alcoholic beverages at retail from accepting, redeeming, possessing, or utilizing any type of coupon that is funded, produced, sponsored, promoted, or furnished by a beer manufacturer or beer and wine wholesaler. The bill would provide a definition of coupon for these purposes. By expanding the definition of a crime by imposing additional duties on a licensee under the act, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
The definition of coupon is “any method by which a consumer receives an instant discount at the time of the purchase that is funded, produced, sponsored, promoted, or furnished, either directly or indirectly, by a beer manufacturer or beer & wine wholesaler.

The definition of “Coupon” excludes mail-in rebates to obtain discounts from beer manufacturer or beer & wine wholesaler. It also excludes coupons funded by spirits manufacturers, winegrowers, and certain other licensees, so long as no “beer or malt beverages” are advertised in connection with the coupon.

It passed through the Assembly with some amendments and now Senate will have a third reading on May 5.

AB 2203–Introduced by Chesbro Feb 20, 2014 (amends § 25202)

It is already illegal to obliterate, mutilate, or mark out a manufacturer’s name on “returnable beer containers … or cartons made of wood or fiber board” without written consent of manufacturer. This bill makes it also illegal to do so to metal kegs. In any case, the prohibition does not apply when the beer manufacturer has discontinued business and is no longer licensed to manufacture.

2203 passed through the Assembly and now sits with Senate Rules

AB 1989–Introduced by Chesbro Feb. 20, 2014 (to amend §§ 25658 and 25662 and add § 25668 to BPC).

The bill would provide an educational exception to the prohibition on underage drinking.

The new section would permit “qualified students” to taste alcoholic beverages, without the student or the qualified academic institution being subject to criminal prosecution, if several criteria are met.

  • Student must taste while enrolled.
  • Institution must have AA or BA in enology or brewing.
  • Tasting occurs as part of course required for enology or brewing program.
  • Beverage remains in control of instructor, at least 21 years of age.
  • Must be part of curriculum requirements.
  • A recent amendment clarified the institution need not be licensed provided it doesn’t charge anything extra for the tasting.

The bill remains active in the Assembly after the amendment. G.O. has a hearing on the calendar for May 7.

Federalism’s Tension with the National Love of Craft Beer

Federalism allows the individual states to function as “laboratories of democracy.” Innovations in the law of one state can spill over into others; in some cases creating a national consensus. Since alcohol regulation was largely left to the states after Prohibition, each became such a “laboratory” with respect to alcohol laws.

While the general three-tier system has been in place throughout the country, each state has put its own stamp on it. And some of the laboratories have performed more experiments than others, whose lab equipment still bears the dust that settled shortly after the passage of the 21st Amendment . Some of those experiments have benefitted small brewers because the three-tier system generally “protects” distributors and retailers from big bad manufacturers.

In particular, a strict three-tier system prohibits brewers from selling (or in some cases, even offering samples of) beer from the brewing premises directly to the public. Brewers in those states must employ a distributor to get their beer to retailers if they hope to make any money. Many states, such as California, allow breweries (small and large) to self-distribute and to offer tasting (for profit) at the brewery. And lo, the world has not ended. But it has provided start-ups with an instant revenue stream from the ability to sell beer on-site before they’ve even managed to find local accounts or considered a strategy for expansion/distribution.

It has also provided the public with an excellent way to appreciate their local beer: they can look at the brewing equipment and chat with the brewers and proprietors as they enjoy the beer made on site. Then, they can take growlers of it home. Of course, not everyone gets to enjoy local beer this way. Consequently, not everyone gets to enjoy a great variety of local beer: restrictive beer laws mean fewer would-be entrepreneurs will think it is worthwhile to start up.

In tension with these variations across the states is the national culture of beer appreciation growing rapidly in the United States. Drinkers just joining the ranks are well aware of the best beers across the nation, thanks to rating sites, social media, and the general modern ease of knowing about things beyond one’s own state’s borders.

When such a person reads something like this: “If their strategic plan was based on them opening up a microbrewery then changing state law, then that was a poor strategic plan,” he or she may be confused, even angry. He or she may know about the lines to fill growlers at Hill Farmstead or the Alchemist’s Heady Topper kerfluffle. He or she may have seen the picture of the lady with a 2-month-old baby waiting all night for a shot at some Pliny the Younger. Such a person may want a phenomenon of that nature to occur in his or her back yard.

Georgia’s Senator Jack Murphy added, “The three-tier system has been in place for, what, 80 years now? And what it was designed to do and is designed to do is regulate an industry that needs regulating,” Murphy said. Such a person, upon hearing this, is apt to think, “Federalism Sucks!” (Perhaps not in those terms). An opportunity for civic engagement, I suppose. It does seem that more and more politicians recognize the opening of small breweries as an opportunity to tout job creation, particularly in [rural] places that have not seen a lot that. Consequently, a challenger to an old “three-tier” guy may have a lot of success talking about small business growth, new jobs, and the good small brewing businesses have done for local communities.

While it is good that states can establish their own policies, the online and inherently borderless nature of like-minded communities, such as craft beer nuts, puts federalism in tension with the national mood. One national mood of craft beer is: locally made, locally consumed, [very] locally enjoyed. Small breweries (where they can) have teamed with the food truck phenomenon to turn their industrial-zone warehouse sites into cool, brewpub-esque hangouts. And it is a shame that residents of some states can only be spectators [and tourists] to this aspect of beer appreciation.

Sanctum Brewing Some More Life Into The Heart of Pomona

I had a chance to pop in to visit the best thing to happen to Pomona, craft-beer-wise, since the Rookery opened downtown in the old Joey’s BBQ spot. Sanctum Brewing opened its doors a couple weeks ago, initially only Fridays and Saturdays. Now, Thursdays too. Eventually, they are likely to add Wednesdays (since they can).

The space is just east of Towne avenue, at Palm and Commercial just north of the train tracks. Located in the newly renovated Pomona Packing Plant, the history of the buildings includes housing stone fruit and citrus packing operations going back nearly 100 years.

Sanctum’s Jason Stevens and Scott Lucas acquired a pile of old pallets, and put many hours (days, actually) into reconditioning them as decor for their walls and bar. It looks great. As for the beer, the initial test batches include a mild, two blondes (one with apple), a dubbel, a chocolate stout, and an IPA. I would say very successful for test batches–clean flavors, nothing off (that I could detect). I did not get much apple from the blonde, but the plain one was fine and probably better off without it. With a tasting flight, I did not get to appreciate any one of the beers fully, so I’ll leave my comments on them at that.

From a Law.of.Beer perspective, I had enough curiosity to scan Pomona’s council records regarding the opening of Sanctum. The only thing that stands out from a legal perspective is that a zoning amendment was required before the brewery could operate in its location. The particular industrial zone  did not allow for a brewery that served beer on the premises. After a non-contentious amendment, the city approved Sanctum’s CUP and here they are–a great addition to the city. Welcome, Sanctum!

It Ain’t Me, Babe: Bob Dylan, Italian American Cars, and Big Misunderstandings

Still being new to the Twitter-verse, it was interesting to watch the comments of the 650-ish people I follow develop in real time during the Super Bowl. My follow-portfolio is undiversified: mostly beer-related folks, next most are sports types (the Danettes and Rich Eisen, e.g.). When the Chrysler Ad aired, the immediate fallout took me by surprise, and the continued “outrage” has continued to take me by surprise, culminating (in part) in this post from New Holland Brewing Co’s Fred Bueltmann’s rebuke of Chrysler.

Where I’m confused about the uproar is highlighted by Bueltmann’s characterization of this thought process: “At first, I thought it was a simple snub.” Then he realized he thought not only was it a snub, but it was much worse than that. I take issue, though, with the thought that this was a “snub.” Calling it a snub entails there having been some kind of contest, which could have legitimately been won by any number of entrants. Of course, among those of us who know what excellent beer is being made here in America, many would vote USA to the top of the list. But there was no list, no competition.

It was purposeful that a different country appear as a figurehead for each product in the commercial which was about making cars in the USA. Never mind, for the purpose of the story being told, that an Italian company now owns Chrysler. The point is, the commercial was a little story about how the USA made cars. Since America made cars, you should buy the cars they now make.

The USA, however you want to slice it, did not make watches, despite the fact there are fine watchmakers here. And we did not make beer, despite the fact that, indisputably, excellent beer is being made here. Superb, delicious beer. But Germany made beer–a long time ago. That one can reasonably disagree with an argument they continue to make the best beer is beyond the little story being told in the commercial.

For that reason, I don’t think the commercial should be viewed as offensive to American beer. It was just intended to give rhetorical effect to the statement, we’ll make your car. And it had better rhetorical effect, from a writing standpoint, than saying: let the USA make your beer; let the USA make your watches; let the USA make your electronic doodads; We’ll make your car. That would have no rhetorical effect, which is not what they were going for.

Maine’s Prohibition on Posting Alcohol Content: Unconstitutional Restriction on Commercial Speech

 Maine’s Liquor Licensing and Compliance agency reportedly ordered a brewer to take down information regarding the alcohol content of beers on offer. The problem with the law is that it is restriction on commercial speech that is neither false nor misleading. Manufacturers should be encouraged to share as much truthful information as possible about their products so that consumers can make rational, informed decisions about what they buy. The Constitutional doctrine developed under Central Hudson says that while commercial speech may deserve somewhat less protection than political speech, for example, restrictions on speech containing information about a lawful product that is neither false nor misleading must serve a “substantial interest” of the state, with the regulation directly furthering that interest, restraining the speech only to the extent necessary to further the interest (tailoring).

According to the article, the law has been on the book since 1937, and has probably never been challenged under the doctrine espoused by Central Hudson. In 44 Liquormart v. Rhode Island, the Supreme Court struck down the state’s ban on advertisement of liquor prices because it unconstitutionally abridged commercial speech. In his (non-majority) opinion, Stevens stated, “The First Amendment directs us to be especially skeptical of regulations that seek to keep people in the dark for what the government perceives to be their own good.” This statement seems to address precisely what is happening in Maine’s prohibition on alcohol content posting. If Maine’s regulation were construed to be a “flat ban” on posting/advertising alcohol content, it would not likely survive First Amendment scrutiny.

Jester King Craft Brewery, Inc. was a plaintiff in a Texas suit against the TABC (835 F. Supp. 2d 227). There, the District Court recognized the First Amendment protection in the context of Texas alcohol content labeling/advertising laws that plaintiffs claimed were “inconsistent, nonsensical, and [not justified by] any substantial government interest.” The court also held that forcing plaintiffs to call ale “beer” if its alcohol content was below a certain level violated the First Amendment because the state failed to show the regulation advanced a substantial state interest.

In Rubin v. Coors Brewing Co, the Supreme Court struck down a regulation on displaying  alcohol content in certain contexts, finding the regulation not “sufficiently tailored to its goal.” Notably, the court acknowledged that there may be a substantial interest in suppressing “strength wars” (the government’s justification for prohibiting information about alcohol content). However, the regulation at issue was too internally inconsistent to achieve that goal, so it failed the First Amendment test. Concurring, Stevens called the regulation an attempt “blindfold the public,” and argued that truthful information about alcohol content deserves full First Amendment protection.

Thus, it would seem the door is not entirely closed on Maine attempting to justify its regulation on posting alcohol content, but the state would face an uphill, and likely losing battle–probably not one it has an interest in fighting. Jonathan Adler of the Volokh Conspiracy posted an article on February 7, 2014 contending that Maine’s law, under Rubin, violates the First Amendment. Good enough for me to remove the question mark from the title of this post and state it affirmatively (even though the Rubin did not foreclose the “strength wars” argument).

Interestingly, there has been a fair amount of chatter amongst the beer-drinking public about “strength wars” amongst craft brewers. Double-triple-imperial beers are ubiquitous. Many, of course, enjoy a high-alcohol beer for the depth and complexity of flavors it can offer. A high-alcohol beer’s “efficiency” often plays a role in popularity as well. Extreme examples of high-alcohol beer recently made by BrewDog and others bring to mind the arms race played out by Tom and Jerry, with each one topping the other’s newest arsenal acquisition with ever-larger cannons and incendiary devices.

Consumers themselves have reacted to this increase by expressing desire for more “sessionable” beers, the popularity of which continue to rise. Most brewers, along with various imperials and doubles, now seem to have some form of lighter “day” IPA, XPA, or hoppy lager. Stone Brewing Co. announced its “Go To” Session IPA on 2/3/14. Brewers self-regulate the serving of stronger beers as well. As beers approach 7-8% and up, they are far more likely to be served in reduced portions–often 6–8 ounces for the strongest beers.

If the market responds in this way to “strength wars,” there is little reason to believe the government should intervene by “blindfolding” the public in hopes doing so will quell a strength war. The whole thing is silly, anyhow, given that someone interested primarily in strength can just go out and buy the cheapest “handle” of vodka, gin, whiskey, rum, brandy, tequila . . . or order the same at a bar.

Ironic, too, the early fear of strength wars in beer. Some 80 years later, the drafters of legislation such as Maine’s might be surprised to know that for the mass market in beer, consumers themselves have kept the alcohol level nice and low, as it turns out that “cold tasting” beer is necessarily low in alcohol.

CA ABC Issues Industry Advisory Regarding Brewery Sales of Others’ Beer

A California brewery (type 1 or 23 license) has wide latitude in sales of its own beer. It can sell the beer on premises, to wholesalers for distribution, and it can self-distribute to other licensees without limit. 

However, in a recently posted industry advisory, the ABC clarified that breweries are expressly prohibited from selling beer that is not “produced and bottled by, or produced and packaged for” them. 

There are exceptions to this seemingly clear-cut rule:

  • Brewers may obtain an off-sale retail beer and license.
  • Brewers may also obtain a beer and wine wholesaler license.
  • Brewers who also have restaurants on or next to the brewing premises can sell others’ beer and wine.

In a recent paper I wrote for a law school seminar class, I argued that small brewers’ who have no interest in operating restaurants should nonetheless have the opportunity that their restaurant-running brethren have to offer guest taps of fellow local brewers to increase consumers’ overall knowledge of the beer styles and choices available to them in the geographic area, to to facilitate their ability to interact and collaborate with one another as that is a valued element of the industry.

 

The History of Beer Litigation in California: The Case of Would-be Reformers Nelly Smith and Annie Keating

It is not specifically “beer litigation,” but it is the earliest case from California that I have come across concerning laws relating to beer consumption.

In 1869, two “pretty waiter girls,” Nelly Smith and Annie Keating, remained on purpose beyond midnight in a drinking saloon in violation of a city ordinance that banned women  (and live music) from bars or “beer cellars.” They were duly arrested and fined for their violation. The article below, printed in the Dec. 3, 1869 edition of a Sacramento Daily  Union, reveals it was a “test case”: it was intended that the conviction would be challenged on Constitutional Grounds.

TestCase-ExParteSmith

The California Supreme Court opinion was not favorable to women or bar owners, upholding in Ex Parte Smith, October Term 1869, the ordinance as applied to women.

It was challenged on grounds of impinging upon the inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness, as well as the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.

The court allowed that perhaps females could gain enjoyment or happiness from being “at such places” after midnight. However, it had no problem dispensing with the “inalienable right” argument, finding that there are many legitimate reasons for governments to interfere with the right to pursue life, liberty, property, and happiness, including laws designed to promote public peace and good order, and public decency and morality.. The Constitution prevents only legislation that injures natural rights in a destructive or unreasonably restrictive manner. Judge Sanderson was willing to defer to the judgment of the Board of Trustees of Sacramento: that the presence of females in saloons after midnight was “of a vicious and immoral tendency.”

Judge Sanderson was likewise untroubled by the law’s uneven effect on men and women. <Side note for fun: the Judge describes military service and jury duty as burdens placed only upon men while showing that the law acts differently upon different categories of people in many acceptable ways>. Satisfied that where a law seeks to prevent a wrong  of a “character which permits of its being done … by one sex and not by the other,” Sanderson refused to countenance an equal protection violation so long as the law is reasonable. After all, in this case, the evil was “exclusively due” to females.

This ruling is of course an artifact that predates the heightened scrutiny a high court would now give to a law discriminating on the basis of gender. Justice Scalia likes morality legislation though–I wouldn’t be surprised if he backed a law like this one.

 

 

Origins of National Lager Day, Lack of

When I heard the news today, I first thought: I’ve no lagers at home. I second thought, since when? As declared by whom? One can find it repeated throughout the web today as though it had always been so. Curiously, no mention of the original proponent of declaring this 10th of December the day, or why this day. One might think the National Lager Foundation but alas, there is none.

An Occam’s Razor-type guess is that it comes from someone hoping people will buy more lagers; thus, someone who trades heavily on lagers. AB announced a survey in time for commemorating this holy day. Sam Adams (I think they have a lager…) released survey results too and an infographic and Jim Koch gave his “top 10″ reasons to drink a craft lager (not included was “so that we’ll sell more lager”).

I have put as many minutes into historical google and news searches as I am willing and turned up nothing. It is definitely a recent invention, with the earliest mention I found in 2009.

A 2011 post in the Examiner reported the origins of the “holiday” to be unknown. (their written finger quotes). Perhaps it will stay that way. It is now marked on “food holidays” lists in various places and people love a reason to quaff a beer, even if that means celebrating non-lagers under the auspices of celebrating lager day. Those who are fizzy on lagers and ales should take advantage of the many posts taking the opportunity to explain the difference between ale and lager.

In any case,  a day to celebrate lager cannot be a bad thing. I will try a new one (to me) from Schmaltz (or is it Sam Adams/Alchemy and Science now? I’ll have to check the bottle)–Coney Island Albino Python.

What’ll you have?

*Note: The Albino Python is a great hybrid. I do not dislike wits, but I am not always excited about the banana/clove factor. This beer gets the light and smooth body and the citrus peel/spices of a wit, but has a much cleaner flavor overall with muted (yet present) esters/phenols.

Repeal Day in Los Angeles: 1933

With many today a-twitter about the anniversary of the 21st Amendment, I thought I would take a glance at how the day was received in Los Angeles before any anniversaries had come:

The headline read: Liquor Sale Way Clear: State Prepared for Flow Today. 

First, it was before the advent of the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control; so it was the State Board of Equalization that “worked frantically to put California in readiness for the return of hard liquor.” Over 54,000 applications for licenses had been sent.

Draught beer would be limited to 3.2%, anything stronger had to be bottled for home consumption or to go with “bona fide meals.” Hotels were already pushing for the ability to serve hard liquor in dining rooms, as then-attorney general Webb advocated for a policy keeping hard liquor out of public eating places.

Faced with criticism regarding regulations, secretary Dixwell Pierce of the equalization board deflected back at the people, “the rigors of regulation are not due to action by the board of Equalization or the Legislature. The people voted the liquor-control amendment of the constitution. If you don’t like it, don’t blame us.” Take that!

Dixwell Pierce further warned that “sneak clubs” would not be tolerated–hard liquor could be consumed at “bona fide” clubs as if it were being consumed at home, but clubs formed for the fraudulent purpose of being able to evade the law booze it up with the hard stuff  would “not be countenanced.”

Wineries were not happy either. Edmund Rossi, of Sonoma, voiced an objection to the requirement of bottling be done in a separate facility.

Ordinary folks, for their part, were up in arms about liquor licenses being issued near schools and churches. Equalization board member Frank Stewart attempted to allay these concerns: “Where complaint is made that a license is being issued for location close to schools or churches, such licenses will be denied.” So began, apparently, the saga of well-meaning businesses negotiating the sea of resident complaints.

Stewart was not amused at one county official, who accused the equalization board of putting “what should be a clean industry” in the “hands of bootleggers, rumrunners and racketeers.”

Stewart suspected motives behind local officials’ criticism of the statewide board’s authority to issue license: “Such deliberate falsehoods as these must be inspired by some motive and if that motive is founded on a desire by certain local officials to regain absolute control of the licensing and revoking of licenses of liquor establishments I can promise them it is doomed to failure.”

Frank Stewart was right about that; the power to regulate licensing would become even more centralized with creation of the ABC. But ABC law continues to recognize local zoning ordinances in the issuance of licenses.

By way of New York Tribune, Walter Lippmann wrote in the Dec. 5 Los Angeles Times:

“They concluded that an appetite which had caused so much misery should be suppressed, that a trade which had caused so much dishonesty should be outlawed. What they overlooked was the conscience of the great mass of people who did not drink immoderately and had no part in the political corruption.”

Not everyone welcomed the repeal. In the Dec. 6 Los Angeles Times: “Plans for continuing the war against alcohol will be discussed at a meeting of the Los Angeles County Woman’s Prohibition Club tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. at the Young Men’s Christian Association Building, 715 South Hope Street.” The group would discuss plans to “support at all elections only those parties and candidates which give a definite pledge to enact and enforce a national prohibition law.”

Fortunately, those war efforts failed. Cheers!

Welcome Alosta Brewing; Quick Anecdote on Self-Distribution

This evening I had occasion to visit the 5-days-old Alosta Brewing in Covina, CA. They are Covina’s first microbrewery. (Nearby West Covina features a BJ’s that used to be a prominent brewing location for the company and remains licensed as a brewpub.) The opening process for the fledgling outfit has been long and painstaking, requiring a mid-game switch in locations, much negotiating, and a lot of waiting. After all, though, they are open for business and report a very successful first week so far. At least two local brewers were in the tap room sampling Alosta’s beer when I arrived.

Current offerings include a blonde, a British pale, a strong British pale, and a brown porter. Upcoming are an oatmeal stout and a saison. The brewers/owners include members of the Crown of the Valley Brewing Society, a homebrewing organization in operation since 1988.

While I stood in the tasting room,  a call came in from a nearby pub requesting another keg of the blonde ale. In minutes, a keg was loaded and ready to move. “We can deliver a keg faster than we would be able to get a pizza,” one of the owners exclaimed.

In California, brewers can sell their beer to retail licensees directly without limit. Many states either do not allow this at all, or place caps on the amount of beer that can be self-distributed.

For a brewery just starting up, the ability to be immediately responsive to local retailers seems like an important benefit. As a brewery grows, self-distribution becomes less efficient. But in moments like the one I witnessed, it means the just-opened brewery’s beer can remain on tap through a busy Saturday evening at a popular pub with many great craft tap handles.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 166 other followers