Will Indiana’s Beer Laws Keep Up With Three Floyds Growth?

In Beer News, Beer Politics by Ryan

There was an interesting article last week in The Times of Northwest Indiana profiling superstar brewery Three Floyds, its elusive beers and the breweries projected growth in the next two years.

The article included an interesting tidbit about Three Floyds expected production this year and next (emphasis added):

“Three Floyds brewed roughly 20,000 barrels last year (one barrel is 31 U.S. gallons). This year its shooting for about 25,000. Eventually it will go beyond 30,000. That’s where the Indiana legislation enters the story. Not only is the Three Floyds name stamped on beer bottles, but also on two amendments.

The Three Floyds amendments benefit craft beer in Indiana.

“When there weren’t any breweries in Indiana the legislators just made a law that if you are going to be a small brewery the definition of a small brewery is up to 20,000 barrels of production,” Struve said.

Among other things the law meant a brewery topping that production would limit pubs and increase taxes.

“We would be given two options,” Struve said. “One would be to continue to grow and close our pub. The other would be to stay at 20,000 barrels and keep our pub. So as a stopgap measure they (the Legislation) increased that to 30,000. And we’re going to go beyond 30,000 barrels as well.”

Meaning there is still work to be done, legislatively.”

That leaves us to wonder aloud; will the Indiana legislature be able to keep pace with Three Floyds growth?

Twice in the last two years lawmakers in Indiana stepped to the plate to help Three Floyds (as well as Sun King and Upland) to retain their “craft brewer” designation in the state by upping the barrel limit.

That designation, by the way, means tax breaks, self-distribution rights and on-site sale privileges.

The fact that out-of-state beer sales are not counted towards the designation, as we understand the law, should give craft brewers in Indiana some wiggle room before the legislature needs to revisit the issue.

But with Three Floyds projected to eclipse the 30,000 barrel cap in 2013 will the legislature be able to step up for a third time?

For those of us who lust after Zombie Dust, we certainly hope so.

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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.

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