Beer Politics National Roundup; July 21-27

In Beer Politics by Ryan

We’re letting our policy geek flag fly with our newest feature, a weekly, nation-wide roundup of beer politics stories.

This feature expands upon our steadfast coverage of the Illinois legislature and Illinois Liquor Control Commission to see what other states are up to and if Illinois is keeping pace with its neighbors, and vica versa.

In Indiana, the debate continues over a state law that prohibits anyone but a liquor store from selling cold beer.

The Herald Bulletin looks at the law’s impact on one convenient store and the Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association’s plight to get the law reversed.

“It doesn’t make any sense at all,” said Jay Ricker, the founder and an owner of Ricker’s Oil Company, which is headquartered in Anderson.

Ricker along with other members of the Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association (IPCA) recently filed a federal appeal after U.S. District Judge Richard Young ruled against an expansion of cold beer sales in convenience, grocery and pharmacy stores in June.

“We are not very happy with the ruling,” Ricker said. “There is no good reason not to allow cold beer to be sold. We are allowed to sell beer warm.”

In California, The Press Democrat reports on Governor Jerry Brown signing a bill into law allowing underage college students to sip — and spit out — wine or beer they’re tasting as part of a winemaking or brewing program.

“When it comes to brewing, we’re equally fortunate in California to have such a robust array of beer makers — both large and small,” Chesbro said in a statement. “In both instances, these products are made with the help of California college and university graduates who in many cases diligently complete the bulk of their career training in beer or wine production prior to reaching the age of 21.”

A new law in Arizona will allow craft beer drinkers to get a growler of any kind filled by their favorite brewer, according to KTAR Radio.

Prior laws stated that beer growlers could only be crafted from glass. New legislation, however, nixed all that.

Now Arizona beer lovers can leave their favorite breweries with ceramic growlers or steel growlers — or any other growler made from nonporous, sanitary material.

Per Mountain Beers, lawmakers in West Virginia are going to spend the fall looking at revamping the state’s liquor laws to make them more craft beer friendly.

Determining how to stimulate additional craft beer production and sales within the state will be discussed later this year, when the committee meets monthly for three-day sessions beginning in September. The committee will study “fees, taxation and other regulatory provisions” that impede or promote the craft beer business in the state, with plans to report its findings – and perhaps provide new or revised legislation – during the 2015 regular session.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who recently said he wants to make his state’s laws less restrictive for craft brewers, is putting together a Craft Beer Workgroup.

“New York’s craft beer industry has seen tremendous growth in the past four years – and we plan to keep the momentum going,” Governor Cuomo said. “By bringing together leaders from industry, academia and the public sector, we can make sure that the Empire State becomes an even better place to brew and promote world-class beverages. That’s what I’ve charged this Workgroup with doing, and I am confident that they will play a large role in continuing to cultivate a vibrant environment for the craft beer industry.”

Liquor stores in a county north of Baltimore, Maryland will be able to sell beer-to-go in growlers by this fall, according to the Baltimore Sun.

The Harford County Liquor Control Board unanimously approved permits Wednesday for refillable beer containers for Wine World in Abingdon, Pool N’ Pints in Aberdeen, Friendship Wine & Liquor in Abingdon and DuClaw Brewing Company in Bel Air South.

As microbreweries blossom around Maryland, the growler jugs have been popular with residents who like craft beers and enjoy being able to take home drinks that may be unavailable in package form. Several counties in Maryland already permit growlers, but Harford was not among them.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has signed a bill into law allowing Sunday alcohol sales beginning at 10:00 am, as opposed to noon.

Lawmakers hope that legalizing early morning liquor runs will help boost sales, particularly in terms of purchases from tailgaters and day-partiers.

The modification doesn’t go into effect for 90 days, so tailgaters will have to suffer through three whole Patriots home games drinking less-than-fresh liquor purchased an entire day ahead.

And despite South Carolina’s governor signing perhaps the most craft beer-friendly bill into law anywhere, ever Stone Brewing says they won’t be opening a second brewery in that state.

Stone Brewing won’t be coming to South Carolina and instead has shifted its focus to Ohio and Virginia, officials said today.

The San Diego brewery — the nation’s 10th-largest — notified the state Department of Commerce that South Carolina is no longer a candidate, department spokeswoman Allison Skipper told The Greenville News today.

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Equal parts beer nerd and policy geek, Ryan is now the curator of the Guys Drinking Beer cellar. The skills he once used to dig through the annals of state government as a political reporter are now put to use offering unique takes on barrel-aged stouts, years-old barleywines and 10 + year verticals.