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Old 11-10-2010, 08:10 PM   #1
pnh2atl
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Default Changing State Malt Beverage Codes

Has anyone endeavored to try and have some of the rules changed that relate to malt beverages in your state? I'm about to and I'd love some advice. We would like to try and start a brewery and GA makes it a little tough. We would like to start small and have a tap house, tasting room, public house type of set up. But we can't in GA. It would have to be a brewpub and 50% of the revenue must come from food. We don't want to start a restaurant we want to start a brewery. We would love to self distribute on some level. But we can't in GA. Three-tier system with no allowances for any self distribution. We would like to be able to provide samples during a tour. But we can't in GA. We would like to not be required to sell other beers that come in "cans and bottles" in our tap house. But we can't in GA.

I've spoken with all my state reps and they are all open to the idea of modifying the code. I have also contacted my county commissioners for their support too. We will get our friends and family in other districts to write letters of support also. We also plan on talking to any group we think might benefit from this from tax revenue to tourists visiting the brewery. For the last year we have been brewing on the 3rd Friday of the month and have opened it up to anyone who wants to come. Free beer always draws a crowd so we have lots of people who we can enlist to help. There are three of us ans all of our reps will get a sample of our beer in the coming weeks to help generate some excitement.

So what do you think? Any ideas? Thanks!

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Old 11-10-2010, 08:33 PM   #2
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No advice but I applaud you. Most people just complain about the laws. It is refreshing to see someone actually taking proactive measures to change the law. Keep us informed.

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Old 11-10-2010, 08:50 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pnh2atl View Post
Has anyone endeavored to try and have some of the rules changed that relate to malt beverages in your state? I'm about to and I'd love some advice. We would like to try and start a brewery and GA makes it a little tough. We would like to start small and have a tap house, tasting room, public house type of set up. But we can't in GA. It would have to be a brewpub and 50% of the revenue must come from food. We don't want to start a restaurant we want to start a brewery. We would love to self distribute on some level. But we can't in GA. Three-tier system with no allowances for any self distribution. We would like to be able to provide samples during a tour. But we can't in GA. We would like to not be required to sell other beers that come in "cans and bottles" in our tap house. But we can't in GA.

I've spoken with all my state reps and they are all open to the idea of modifying the code. I have also contacted my county commissioners for their support too. We will get our friends and family in other districts to write letters of support also. We also plan on talking to any group we think might benefit from this from tax revenue to tourists visiting the brewery. For the last year we have been brewing on the 3rd Friday of the month and have opened it up to anyone who wants to come. Free beer always draws a crowd so we have lots of people who we can enlist to help. There are three of us ans all of our reps will get a sample of our beer in the coming weeks to help generate some excitement.

So what do you think? Any ideas? Thanks!
The question is how will your reps feel after they get a call from an AB_Inbev lobbyist?

In Missouri, Boulevard Brewing Company with it's substantial resources wanted to sell beer at their brewery. Do you know what they figured was the easiest way to do that? They opened a winery which got them a loophole around 3-tier. So figure this will be somewhat more expensive and time consuming than opening a token winery, but good luck and I do hope you succeed.
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Old 11-10-2010, 09:13 PM   #4
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I know this is an uphill battle but someone has got to try or we will be stuck with yellow beer.

We have a FB page. Maybe you can join it so we can show a broad range of support. It is here: http://www.facebook.com/reformationbrewery Thanks!

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Old 11-10-2010, 09:19 PM   #5
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I'll echo the regards for giving this a shot... My only advice would be think about how you are framing your arguments, I wouldn't focus on how your beer is great and people like it, I'd focus on jobs that you'll be creating and money making. Especially in this economic down turn show how these laws will allow your small business to succeed, also maybe market "the little guy" angle. Jobs and the little guy legislators can sell to their colleagues trying to sell "more beer" might be harder.

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Old 11-11-2010, 12:17 PM   #6
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That's pretty much how Dogfish Head got started. When Sam Calagione first moved here it was illegal to open a brewery in Delaware, which he found out after he had already started the process of setting up the business. He lobbied to get the laws changed, and was successful.

Maybe you should try to get in touch with him yourself. There's some contact info on their website with just a generic email, but maybe if you explain your situation you'll hear back. From what I've seen he's a really friendly guy and all about helping out the craft beer industry.

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Old 11-11-2010, 01:36 PM   #7
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Vienman that is how we have framed our first few emails. I think you are right that if we get a few reps on board they can be more successful lobbying for the little guy, jobs and tax revenue then we need better beer. Any time you can give a politician more tax money to spend they are happy. I still think they will get sample.

I didn't know Sam Calagione had started the brewery already. But I will contact him and if I hear back I'll let you know. While we have no realistic aspirations of anything that big it is another good example of how it can help a community with jobs and taxes. He wrote a book didn't he? I may need to pick it up.

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Old 11-11-2010, 01:59 PM   #8
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Sent you a PM with info about the local beer scene that you probably already knew.

For everyone else: This is a *big* fight in Georgia. We have corrupt politics, as usual, but ours are very, very religious. Our politicians get hired based on the churches they associate with. If you look at the "votefor[whoever].com" pages for the candidates who just got elected, you'll see that their webpages are all plastered with references to all the southern baptist churches they visited. And while individuals in the church might support beer, and the politicians might say they support craft brew in person, when it comes time to vote they always vote against it.

We've been trying to get legalizing Sunday sales on the ballot for years. Every year it gets rewritten, shows promise, gets some support, and then gets delayed to the next year without getting on the ballot.

We did successfully get the ABV limit dropped, and we have some very successful breweries, and brewpubs are popping up all over the place right now. But Sunday sales, 3-tier system, and selling beer at the brewery have been hotly contested and lost over and over and over again.

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Old 11-11-2010, 02:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pnh2atl View Post
Vienman that is how we have framed our first few emails. I think you are right that if we get a few reps on board they can be more successful lobbying for the little guy, jobs and tax revenue then we need better beer. Any time you can give a politician more tax money to spend they are happy. I still think they will get sample.

I didn't know Sam Calagione had started the brewery already. But I will contact him and if I hear back I'll let you know. While we have no realistic aspirations of anything that big it is another good example of how it can help a community with jobs and taxes. He wrote a book didn't he? I may need to pick it up.
+1 to the fact that 'support small business and our jobs' is the way to go about this rather than focusing on the beer aspect.

Also, I've heard great things about Sam and his willingness to respond to things like that. His book is called "Brewing up a Business". I've never read it myself, but I think it would be relevant to you.
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Old 11-12-2010, 12:07 AM   #10
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I think I may be more passionate about changing the laws than the brewery. It is frustrating.

Really the focus in my mind is not to eliminate the 3 tier system. I do not think that will happen, sunday sales is more likely. We want to create an allowance for small breweries that need to grow a brand before moving into distribution. Under 500 bbls a year, for instance.

Focus all the energy on small business growth. I am even thinking we need to find a bill that is about growing business and take changes into that. Not in a sneaky way, just couple it wil something else that is a good baptist cause.

I want to work with Inbev and the distributors to grow business. They need the image, and it creates more small breweries that they can snatch up and add to their brand.

And yes, we know: it would be cheaper to start our own winery.

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