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Old 02-23-2010, 04:05 AM   #1
pcrawford
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Default HB1186 - Colorado Craft beer in Convenience Stores - boooo

I received the e-mail from the Colorado Brewers Guild describing why we should appose craft beer. I think the Brewers Guild e-mail has some good points but I added a few additional reasons why I think we should appose HB1186! So while you're surfing homebrewtalk at work tomorrow shoot an email to your representative.

Thanks Guys!

Here is what I said to my Representative:

Representative McCann:

I oppose HB1186; the email below outlines my reasoning in five points. This Bill does not support the craft beer industry for which Colorado is famous. Please vote no on HB1186, and I'll bring over a home brewed beer and we can celebrate!

1. If convenience stores are allowed to sell full strength beer this will take business from small local liquor store retailers. There is a fixed amount of beer purchased in Colorado . If convenience stores are allowed to sell full strength beer you are taking revenue from liquor stores and adding revenue to convenience stores. Liquor Stores are small locally owned businesses. Many convenience stores are franchised and are nation brands. This bill will take revenue from liquor stores and give it to national convenience stores. Therefore, this bill does not supporting Colorado small local businesses.

2. Because they already sell 3.2% beer, convenience stores have a standing relationship with big distributors and most likely will continue to buy beer from those big distributors. Big distributors sell big beer brands like Bud, Miller, and Coors. Colorado has 106 breweries and many of these are brands are self distributed or distributed through smaller distributors. By allowing convenience stores to sell full strength beer you are essentially reducing the opportunity for small local breweries to sell their beer. These house bills again support big business and hurts small local businesses, both small breweries and small distributors.

3. Small locally owned liquor stores sell locally produced beer. These locally produced beers are Colorado companies and create Colorado jobs.

4. Craft beer made by small businesses sells for more money then less expensive beers that will be sold in convenience stores; higher dollars sales in liquor stores means more tax revenue for the state.

5. Craft beer is an essential part of the Colorado economy. The craft brewers association is based in our state. Colorado hosts the Great American Beer festival which hosts 49,000 attendees many from out of state. Craft beer needs the support of local laws.

Thank you for all your hard work towards protecting Colorado craft beer interests!

Cheers,

Patrick
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__________________________________________________ ______________

E-mail from the Colorado Brewers Guild:

Dear Representative_____________________,

Please vote NO on HB1186 and HB1279.

My name is ____________________ and I love Colorado craft beer. I need your help. I need you to vote NO on HB1186 the Convenience-Store bill and HB1279 the Grocery-Store bill.

These bills are putting my beer at risk because my favorite brewery is less likely to get vital shelf space if corporate chain stores control the Colorado beer market. If I can’t find my favorite craft beer on the shelf, I can’t buy it. Access to market is critical in the beer industry and these bills move in the wrong direction.

These bills will kill jobs, not grow them. Please vote NO and preserve primary employer jobs in Colorado. Our brewers make stuff. They brew beer. That’s important. Help Colorado Brewers grow, and grow the state economy.

Colorado is the envy of the nation when it comes to craft beer and these bills will change that. These bills mean less selection and higher prices for Colorado beer lovers, like me, and I am upset.

Please vote NO on HB1186 and HB1279.

Sincerely,
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__________________________________________________ ______

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Old 02-23-2010, 04:18 AM   #2
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I'd love to get the States out of the alcohol business completely other than providing a license (and collecting the tax)...but state run ABC = illegal monopoly IMO...and State sanctioned at that...



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Old 02-23-2010, 04:25 AM   #3
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I could be wrong about this, and I also don't live in Colorado...but doesn't that mean that it will be easier for people to buy craft brews by allowing them in convenience stores? This would mean more promotion for the micro-breweries.

You say that liquor stores are local business, but what about the locals who opened the convenience store? You may think "big bad corporate business" but many of these stores aren't opened by the corporation. They're opened by locals who are just looking to start a shop. The head office will offer the owner a starter package, then he will hire a manager and staff.

I've worked for a store that was opened just like this, and my family has been friends with another family of Indian imigrants who came to the US and opened their own Dunkin' Donuts chain.

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Old 02-23-2010, 04:41 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pcrawford View Post
1. If convenience stores are allowed to sell full strength beer this will take business from small local liquor store retailers. There is a fixed amount of beer purchased in Colorado . If convenience stores are allowed to sell full strength beer you are taking revenue from liquor stores and adding revenue to convenience stores. Liquor Stores are small locally owned businesses. Many convenience stores are franchised and are nation brands. This bill will take revenue from liquor stores and give it to national convenience stores. Therefore, this bill does not supporting Colorado small local businesses.
I don't get this. Won't it take business from big corporate liquor stores and give it to locally owned convenience stores as well? Also, isn't having more stores selling good beer a good thing? Why have a law that says convenience stores CAN'T sell Avery?

In general I think we should be fighting laws that say you can't sell good beer, rather than supporting old anti-beer-sale laws.
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Old 02-23-2010, 04:48 AM   #5
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In Colorado a person can only own one liquor store so most of the liquor stores are mom and pop places not corporations. A person selling craft beer can walk in and talk directly to the owner or beer buyer. This is one reason in my opinion craft beer does so well in Colorado. Well that and self distribution laws.

However at a convenience store there is usually not a beer buyer only an hourly employee behind the counter. The beer buyer might even be in another state. So it will be difficult for a brewery to even find the correct person to talk with to sell beer. Also BMC and their distribution companies offers huge bulk discounts and if a 7-11 buys a truck load of beer between 20 stores it incentivizes 7-11 to push BMC not local craft beer.

Obviously if convenience stores are locally owned and the owner is present to talk to then more beer everywhere would be good for craft beer. But the general consensus is that is not the case.

here is some more reading i just found:
http://hb1186.com/
http://www.examiner.com/x-27952-Denver-Craft-Beer-Examiner~y2010m2d11-Colorado-craft-brewers-rally-against-their-beer-on-convenience-store-shelves

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Old 02-23-2010, 05:17 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pcrawford View Post
However at a convenience store there is usually not a beer buyer only an hourly employee behind the counter. The beer buyer might even be in another state. So it will be difficult for a brewery to even find the correct person to talk with to sell beer. Also BMC and their distribution companies offers huge bulk discounts and if a 7-11 buys a truck load of beer between 20 stores it incentivizes 7-11 to push BMC not local craft beer.
So by this logic you should have nothing to worry about...
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Old 02-23-2010, 05:29 AM   #7
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Why would I go to a 7-11 to buy beer when I don't stop there for anything else? To me, and most people I know, the problem isn't a decision between a convenience store or a liquor store, it's which store has the best selection of beer. Liquor stores will never lose that battle. If more stores are offering the same beer, won't that keep the price down? There doesn't seem to be much competition for craft beers, so the price stays high. The owners of the craft breweries aren't punished by the competition.

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Old 02-23-2010, 06:41 AM   #8
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Also BMC and their distribution companies offers huge bulk discounts and if a 7-11 buys a truck load of beer between 20 stores it incentivizes 7-11 to push BMC not local craft beer.
The angle there seems to be "make it harder for some companies to sell beer so other companies do better." And I guess I'd rather just have a level playing field; it works out here.

Let's take Sorrento Plaza, a mini mall a few miles from me. There you can find:

A Chevron with a mini-mart. They sell BMC and Heineken.

A mom and pop liquor store. They sell mostly hard liquor with a reasonable selection of local beer, although the owner doesn't know much about the beer he sells. They also sell junk food, cigarettes and porn.

A big Fresh-n-Easy convenience store (like a big 7-11.) They sell about four kinds of beer. Sometimes they carry Pyramid.

A Bevmo (huge liquor store.) They have a massive selection of craft beers; probably several hundred different brands. There are also one or two guys there who really know their beer.

Whenever I go there I try to hit the small place first, because I like the guy who runs it and they have Lost Coast. If they don't have what I'm looking for I go to Bevmo. The local brewer I know the best (Tomme) has two beers in the mom and pop place, ~12 different beers in Bevmo.

I like that arrangement. The convenience store is there for anyone who wants to get something really, really fast; that's fine with me. The mom and pop place is a place I like supporting, and Bevmo is an option when I really need a double imperial belgian oak barrel aged IPA or a "summer wheat" from a brewery in Norway.

Would a setup like that not work in Colorado?
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Old 02-23-2010, 07:04 AM   #9
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Why do you feel you should have any say in what the convenience stores can stock?

One of the 7-11s near me has Stone IPA, DFH 60 minute, and SN Torpedo. It comes in really handy a few times a year.

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Old 02-23-2010, 10:12 AM   #10
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I'm not usually a fan of government intervention in business except to restrict business excesses, but the laws as they are in Colorado are arguably a part of why that state (where I'm originally from) is one of the best places in the country for craft beer.

One thing I do think gets overlooked in circles such as this one is the reality of sales from the perspective of a retailer. Most liquor stores are supported, by and large, by beer sales, and 90%+ of those sales are, guess what, BMC. Even the awesome tons-of-micros liquor stores usually depend on their BMC sales as their bread and butter. As long as Colorado liquor stores are legally required to be small operations, them losing those sales runs a very significant risk of running most of the liquor stores in the state out of business. With nothing to replace them (remember, no chain stores), and extremely limited space on supermarket and convenience store shelves, kiss quite a few of the smaller Colorado micros goodbye.

Could it work? Sure, if some other conditions were different as well. But it doesn't present a good outlook just changing that rule on its own.



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