Beer Politics National Roundup; Aug 4-10

In Beer Politics by Ryan

In this week’s look at Beer Politics stories from around the country we gauge the impact of “Mr Liquor’s” departure from the Utah legislature, a push by Richmond, Virginia to land Stone’s second brewery and legislation clearing the way for the Culinary Institute of America to partner with Brooklyn Brewery on a small craft brewery.


The Salt Lake Tribune profiles Utah’s, “Mr. Liquor,” who is leaving the legislature after 26-years.

“I’m sure there will be a lot of people celebrating that Mr. Liquor is leaving the Legislature,” Valentine joked. “I’ll still be interested as a citizen to see what we do, because I think those policy balances are really important. I think the balance between the hospitality we show people who want to drink alcohol versus the social cost, I think we have to keep that balance.”

While he has been a key player in Utah tax policy during his time in the Legislature, he is probably better known for his role in shaping Utah’s liquor laws.

He worked with Gov. Jon Huntsman to get rid of Utah’s law requiring bars to technically be private clubs requiring memberships and sponsored reforms allowing resorts to operate multiple locations with a single license and permitting liquor licenses to be sold.

And Deseret News looks at what Valentine’s departure will mean for the future of liquor laws in that state.

“What I think may be the most significant development will be not necessarily success or a different result immediately but an opportunity to debate and discuss in the Senate. The House has not been shy about at least having a discussion and debate on these issues,” he said.

House bills like the one Wilcox proposed in 2013 often don’t get a public hearing in a Senate committee and don’t reach the floor. Valentine, as chairman of the powerful Senate Rules Committee, controlled which bills advanced and which didn’t. He also could be persuasive with his Republican colleagues in closed Senate caucuses.

NorthJersey.com looks at a possible overhaul of liquor licenses in that state.

Assemblyman John Burzichelli, D-Gloucester, has been circulating a rough draft of a bill that would update the state’s liquor laws. He’s been talking about the issue with “select groups” of stakeholders, including restaurant owners and real estate developers. In New Jersey, liquor licenses range from $50,000 to more than $2 million, which critics say is putting a damper on economic development.

Advocates say a change in the laws — which could include issuing more licenses — would spur restaurant openings throughout the Garden State and boost redevelopment projects in ailing urban and suburban downtowns.

The Poughkeepsie Journal reports New York’s governor has signed a bill into law clearing the way for The Culinary Institute of America to open a small brewery.

With the law, the institute plans to add courses in craft beer making as part of the microbrewery with Brooklyn Brewery. The facility will teach students about fermentation, using grains in brewing and food pairings, as well as a brewpub hospitality operation.

​”The microbrewery at The Culinary Institute of America will be an integral part of the college’s curriculum,” Waldy Malouf, the institute’s senior director of food and beverage operations, said in a statement from the governor’s office.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch breaks down the incentive package Richmond, Virginia is putting together to lure a second brewery from Stone Brewing.

The sheer volume of beer that California-based Stone Brewing Co. wants to produce at the prospective facility requires the city to make an exception to its light industrial zoning rules, which limit beer production to 100,000 barrels per year.

The brewery intends to produce 120,000 barrels per year to start, and production could eventually grow to 500,000 barrels. Stone plans to announce the winning city in the next 30 to 60 days.

The council also introduced a resolution authorizing the Richmond Economic Development Authority to use about $250,000 to “advance economic development initiatives” in the city. Several City Hall sources have said the resolution is intended to give the authority money to spend to help land the brewery.

And the Augusta Free Press looks at a new law in Virgina that allows a craft brewery to operate on a farm.

“Under new legislation, you can have a farm brewery if you grow your own agricultural product for the beer, such as hops or barley.” Similar legislation sparked the growth of Virginia’s farm wineries in the 1980s by creating an incentive for wineries to grow their own grapes.

There are 84 active craft breweries in Virginia, according to the Virginia Craft Brewers Guild. The industry has created more than 8,000 jobs and poured $623 million into the state’s economy.

Cook said only a few breweries are growing their own ingredients, but that the new legislation could encourage more of them to start growing hops and barley. He added that other farmers seeking to diversify their crops might consider growing hops and barley for the craft beer market. Many craft breweries are located in urban areas but purchase locally grown ingredients.


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Ryan

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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.