Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Antiquated, Burdensome Laws Hurt Craft Brewers

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Antiquated, Burdensome Laws Hurt Craft Brewers

Article excerpt

This month countless Americans celebrated American Craft Beer Week. Glasses were raised to the creative and entrepreneurial spirit of craft brewing. Last year there were 2,822 breweries operating in the United States the highest total since the 1870s. In Missouri there are 68 breweries from Springfield to St. Louis.

Young Americans love craft beer. And young entrepreneurs are fueling the industry's rapid growth in Missouri and across the nation.

The celebration, started in 2006, has grown from 126 breweries in 2006 to over 1,200 events. All 50 states participated in American Craft Beer Week. Thousands of Americans and Missourians attended all sorts of beer-centric events and toasted to the success of the industry while raising awareness about the legislative battles that must be overcome.

However, the celebration would have been much bigger if it weren't for politicians and bureaucrats who stand opposed to craft brewing. A maze of antiquated and burdensome laws at the national, state, and local levels protects special interests and the status quo at the expense of brewers and consumers. Lawmakers are currently working to even further regulate these small businesses.

The worst example is the "three-tier" distribution system, a Prohibition-era regulatory system set up to protect big beer distribution companies. These laws prevent small breweries from distributing and selling their own beer forcing them to sign deals with powerful companies that have costly distribution licenses. If you can't sell your own product, it's difficult to get your business off the ground.

With so many regulations in place, it's no surprise that only a few companies are responsible for the entire nation's beer distribution. These big businesses lobby Congress and their state legislatures to maintain their monopolies. Politicians who benefit from their campaign contributions are all too willing to play along, young entrepreneurs and consumers be damned. …

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