Archives For Beer Laws

Today, I’m sure Sandy will garner the majority of your attention. However, if you are still looking forward to the elections next week then you are in good company. There are a couple of things you should keep in mind before the election (other than secondary concerns like fiscal policy, health care reform, and international relations, of course) and those are which candidate cares more about beer and which beer will you be drinking while you watch the votes come in next Tuesday.

I would caution you to temper your excitement. While it would be great if the biggest issues facing this country were concerning brewing, know that the President isn’t going to do much for beer. However there is something a bit more important to the craft beer community on the books in congress now. It is the BREW Act, a bi-partisan bill sponsored by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho). The main goal of the BREW Act is to lower the federal excise tax on barrels of beer produced by Craft Brewers.

If you are currently following the bill on GOVTRACK.us, you can see that there isn’t much progress  being made at the moment. However, GOVTRACK.us states that the bill only has a 5% chance to pass at this time. This is bad, so it would great if everyone took a second to make their opinion heard in support of the bill. This would be a great benefit to small, up and coming breweries as the biggest tax incentives are for breweries producing less than 60,000 bbl’s per yer. This would allow for small, craft breweries to have a much better chance of success which, in turn, supplies more jobs, more revenue into local economies, and more beer!

While neither presidential candidate will be overly concerned with this bill, it is still an important piece of legislation. This will be sorted out, discussed, and voted on by congress, so that is where any efforts in support of this bill should be focussed. One good sign is that the White House is now publicly brewing beer. Whether you agree with Obama’s policies or not, it can’t hurt our cause knowing that there is an interest in homebrewed beer at the highest form of office in this country. There may even come a time when domestic and foreign policy is discussed over a home brew!

 

Yesterday at 7:30 pm a vote was held, and passed unanimously, to allow the creation of up to 200k barrels per year in Decatur, GA. The reason this is important is because there currently isn’t any ordinance on the books allowing the production of beer. This would open up the doors for both Three Taverns and Blue Tarp to start production in Decatur.

200k barrels per year is a large amount of beer. You can compare this to SweetWater at 100k barrels per year, but that isn’t a fair comparison because it took them a lot longer to reach 100k barrels than it will someone starting a brewery now. This is due to the growing craft market which has been steadily on the rise for the past few years. So, if you figure that a start up brewery can hit about 20k barrels after about 4-5 years (based on averages, yes it can be much more or less), that gives Decatur the ability to have 5-10 craft breweries in the area, all possessing the ability to have sizable productions.

What do we think about this? We think it is great. Many people ask us if, with all the new breweries coming online, we are worried about being lost in the shuffle? No, not at all. We feel that there is plenty of room for all comers, especially with us all making and specializing in different types of malted beverages. There are plenty of thirsty people with like and differing tastes wanting something great to drink. We, and others like us, are excited to provide those people with the opportunity to discover everything they have been missing or always wanted in a beer.

Best,

Eventide Team

A recent report put out by the Texas Craft Brewers Guild shows that Texas craft beer was responsible for $608 million in taxes during the 2011 fiscal year.

Why should you care? It’s Texas! Everything is bigger in Texas. Yes, but the big bit of information from the report are their projections based on another similar market, the craft wine market. By cross referencing numbers, and making reasonable comparisons, they are projecting that by 2020 craft beer will have made an impact to the tune of over 5.6 billion, and over 50,000 jobs. And this is just in Texas!

It is amazing to think that beer will have that big of an impact on any state but to realize that 50k jobs and $5+ BILLION is on the line as a result is amazing! So, in a show of appreciation for the great things that craft beer offers, let’s keep doing our part and our 12 ounce curls.

Another big law related win for Craft beer in California!

The process of storing alcoholic beverages in barrels to impart flavor has been used for centuries. While this process is primarily known for its uses in wine and liquor, barrel aged beer has been around almost as long. The question that this brought about for the California legislature is how should the end result be taxed? Since some of the flavor and alcohol will be determined by the wine or liquor that the barrel originally stored should the liquid be declared a wine or liquor and, therefore, be taxed at a higher rate?

Thankfully, the good people of California and their Governor Jerry Brown put into law that beer is still beer. Even if it is aged in a barrel and takes on a higher alcohol content, the resulting beverage is named, and taxed as, beer. This helps the beer community by setting a precedent of how the industry is to be taxed moving forward.

Thanks, Jerry!

 

We talked about this a short while ago but, now that Starbucks is officially in the alcoholic beverages game, we wanted to share this update with you. There are 3 Starbucks slated to begin serving alcohol in Atlanta this fall. The announcement states that these 3 sites will be testing a new “premium” market experience and will also expand their menu to include small meal items. The hope being that this will attract more evening business.

Only time will tell, but I’m sure there will be a few people in book clubs and study groups that wouldn’t mind switching out that 8 pm espresso for a tasty craft beer or quality wine.

We have all seen the news that Starbucks was selling beer in its stores. This was surprising to start, but now seems very logical. It is a high margin product, something which people consume to relax and which fits their beverage service set up. So how should we feel about this as brewers?

This article talks about Starbucks and about its expanding new market. Generally, for Starbucks, the word “expanding” is mentioned a great deal. However, the thing which startled me was that Starbucks was looking to get into the beer business. I’m not scared for myself. I don’t imagine that I’ll go in for a coffee, and come out 2 beers down instead. But more concerned with the idea of what their model did to a commodity industry. They took a product usually sold for less an a dollar, and turned it into a $5 luxury everyone loves.

The modern business idea of providing something, but selling something else is a great business idea. It is sometime refered to as a “Loss – Leader”. In coffee it started with an idea from Dunkin Doughnuts, wherein they decided to sell a beverage which complemented their existing lineup. Dunkin Doughnuts is now one of the top coffee brands in America. It has far out sold their doughnuts! Then Starbucks took it to a new level, and said lets just have coffee, but really sell the experience of it. They also started treating their coffee as a luxury item and set the price to match.

Now, Starbucks is finding that they need to expand their offerings to bring in new customers and generate revenue. The VP’s working on this are betting that the culture of beer is going to work well with their focus market. However, how will this be different from any another craft beer bar? Why should we care? It is simple, they reach a demographic who might not be exposed to the craft beer movement. They also have a large enough base that their consumer base can easily make it profitable, but that would be the same case if they sold dippin’ dots. They chose to sell beer for a bigger reason.

The most logical reason is that they see beer as the fastest growing market segment in their customer base, and that it will be the safest, most efficient bet considering their existing structure. This is exciting to us, though, because people outside of the beer industry are now investing in the future of craft beer.

If Starbucks is betting on craft beer being a solid revenue stream for them, they are betting on people paying a premium for a premium product. They are also a mainstream enterprise so they will help grow the market in ways no brewery, or other organization could. In short, unless I am just completely looking at this incorrectly, this is a good thing for us.

It is a great time to be in the biz.

Law Update

Mathew Sweezey —  July 2, 2012 — Leave a comment

Nathan Deal signed a lot of stuff in before the last session ended. Now a lot of those laws take effect on the 1st. One of those law is:

— Legislation that will increase the number of barrels brew pubs could produce from 5,000 to 10,000. The bill also increases from 500 to 5,000 the number they could sell to wholesale distributors. Supporters said the law addresses the growing popularity of craft beers;

Now what does this mean for Georgia? Well, let’s see. We have 20+ breweries in the state. If we take into consideration how many of those are brew pubs, then we have less than 20 beer only breweries. ( That number comes from this article listing only 12 brew pubs, and it’s the internet so we gave Georgia 7 more to be fair) 

So we just opened up another 20 micro brews into the market. That is great. They also will be allowed to sell up to 5k barrels on their own without a distributor. For those of you not doing the numbers here let me help you out. That is enough money to make a brewery fairly profitable while employing about 3-15 people each. So, that is great for Georgia!

So we have been harsh on Georgia laws before, but today is a win for all of us.