Jan 19, 2015

Guest Contributor: Arizona Breweries Need Your Voice Now! PLEASE HELP!

The following piece was written by my good friend and strong advocate of Arizona beer, Mr. James Swann. Please take a minute and read what James has to say, and if you agree with him (and myself on this) please take a moment and sign the attached petition, and help keep Arizona Beer growing!!!

Arizona Breweries Need Your Voice Now!  PLEASE HELP!

In recent weeks I have been asked on multiple occasions to weigh in on the proposed AZ. Beer Bill
and legislation that has captured the attention of our community, so here it is.  Although the outcome of this law making will greatly affect how local Arizona breweries will be allowed to operate in the near future, believe me when I say that the eyes of the nation are indeed upon us.  To see legislation of this type pass in such a quickly populating place as Arizona will also make a mark on how other states perceive, interpret and change their laws as well.  This is quite an important ship we are sailing!

Now that that is out of the way, how do I feel about the proposed changes?  The short answer is that I completely support the modifications as they will allow for significant growth in the industry and create jobs here in Arizona.  As a consumer of fine brew, you should support these changes as well.

What the AZ. Beer Bill does is allow Arizona breweries to lift the current forty thousand barrel (eighty thousand keg) production cap and at the same time maintain the connecting pubs and tap rooms associated with each brewery.  This is important as current law would force most local breweries to shut down these tap rooms in order to move beyond the forty thousand barrel limit.  This could potentially put many Arizonans out of work.  Do you want to put your favorite barman at SanTan, Four Peaks or Huss out of a job?  I certainly don’t.

This legislation will in fact create jobs and strengthen our local economy as each brewery would be allowed to own and operate up to seven satellite tap rooms and supply them with product without the worry or concern of production caps.  In truth beer brewing, distributing and retail in the United States supports 20,430 jobs, $606,325,300 dollars in total in wages and has a total economic contribution of over one billion.  Craft brewing had a $664 million dollar impact in Arizona in 2012 and created 3,486 jobs.  Those numbers are hard to argue with and are growing.   

Some may argue that these new alterations undermine the basic checks and balances our government’s Three Tier System put into place at the end of Prohibition all the way back in 1933.  In a nutshell that system allows for the controlled and structured sale of all alcoholic beverages while maintaining three tiers of taxation keeping each state’s coffers full money for education, roadways and all things municipal.  While I will not argue that methods for regulating the sale of alcohol will always be necessary I would contend that the proposed changes will only serve to strengthen structure, limit liability, keep more money here in Arizona and create even more tax revenue for our great state.

Sign the petition at www.azbeerbill.com

While most laws are put into place with the best of intentions we all must realize that things change.  Much of the current law governing this matter is almost a century old and is at best out dated and antiquated.  Why on earth should we penalize our local breweries for their own success?  The simple answer is we shouldn’t. 

Lastly, the forces opposing this bill are for the most part spirit producers or resellers and have an
incredible amount of money and lobbying power.  The Worst Part?  Most of these spirits aren’t even produced here in the United States!  SO WHAT DO WE HAVE?  WE HAVE YOU.  

For your state, for the love of beer, for your local brewery please go to www.azbeerbill.com and sign the petition showing your support.  This will take you less than five minutes.  They need your voice NOW!
James Swann

Again, please take a moment and sign the petition attached (find it here...) and help us keep this momentum going!!


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