When Prohibition came to an end, the federal government left it up to each individual state to decide how they would handle the sale and distribution of beer and other adult beverages. What this led to was a tapestry of laws that saw each state operating very, very differently from one another. To this day, many laws that made next to no sense when they were put into effect back in the 1930s still exist…making even less sense as the beer world and alcohol culture as a whole has evolved.
In Session 23 of the Breaking Brews Podcast, Jason Cercone is joined by Lauren Baker, current General Manager of The Harmony Inn and former Production Manager at North Country Brewing, to discuss some beer laws across the country that help the growth of beer in some states, but hinder others. In addition, Jason and Lauren talk about beer distribution and how that model has changed over the years.
One topic of discussion on today’s show is a new law that was going to be passed in Pennsylvania in July of 2019. This law called for the addition of a 6% sales tax on every pint sold across the bar at brewery taprooms throughout the Commonwealth. But, thanks to the efforts of the Brewers of Pennsylvania, brewery owners, and beer enthusiasts, a compromise was reached that will make this new tax much more manageable for small breweries who stood to lose upwards of $100,000 a year in revenue if they absorbed the tax and did not pass it on to their customers. Click here to read about the tax and the compromise that was reached on the Brewers of PA website.
Another big topic covered on this episode is beer distribution. When does it make sense for a beer brand to sign a wholesaler agreement? Why are these agreements so iron-clad in that they do not allow a brewery to transition out, even if a wholesaler is not living up to their end of the agreement? There is a lot to be considered for brands of all sizes in this area and, as mentioned before, laws and regulations are different in each state and dictate how a brewery can grow their distribution footprint.
Lauren has worked for breweries in Texas, Colorado, and Pennsylvania and brings knowledge about how a brand can be successful when it comes to expanding their footprint. She and Jason cover when and why a brewery may want to venture down that path and, when weighing the options, doing it so all parties involved can win.
Connect with North Country Brewing:
And The Harmony Inn:
MUSIC CREDIT: All music heard on today’s session of the Breaking Brews Podcast is courtesy of purple-planet.com
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