The Lexington Herald-Leader ran an editorial praising a bill that codifies a three-tier system for beer in Kentucky – prohibiting breweries from owning their own distributorships. The bill, House Bill 168, protects beer consumers and producers and keeps multinational beer companies like ABInBev from railroading the smaller crafts, the editorial says.
“It should be passed,” the editorial says.
We heartily agree. AND SO DO THE CRAFT BREWERS IN KENTUCKY!! Go figure.
“The bill would spell out that those with a Kentucky license to make beer can’t hold a license to distribute it, too. Brewers in Kentucky’s burgeoning craft beer industry say the move is necessary to protect them from being squeezed out of the market,” reads the article (linked right above) that covers the bill’s passage through a House committee in Kentucky earlier this month.
YES. This is our point.
Now, we aren’t in Kentucky. Texas craft beers have been thriving in the Lone Star State for years under our three-tier system. But we extend applause to Kentucky for seeing the benefits of this system, as opposed to falling for the trap set by them by Big Beer and trying to dismantle it – which would only benefit ABInBev, which is never good for the crafts.
I fail to see how some of the craft industry can actually think Big Beer would be on their side. I hope some in that community read this editorial and see how while we are arguing over preserving the basic, and very successful, tenets of our three-tier system here, other states are champing at the bit to put something similar in place. TO PROTECT THE CRAFT BEERS. And their consumers, more importantly, since that’s what this should really be about.
We’d like to thank the Lexington newspaper for its leadership on this. From the editorial:
It’s probably not possible to know now whether Kentucky law governing production and distribution of beer is so confusing by intent or mistake. Regardless, it’s time to clear it up.
House Bill 168 promises to do that and protect the interests of beer producers and consumers in Kentucky. It should be passed.
The bill seeks to prevent breweries from owning distributorships in Kentucky. It would enforce a three-tier system of beer production, distribution and sales much like that for wine and spirits. Under this system, adopted in many places after the repeal of Prohibition, the producer of an alcoholic beverage, with few a few exceptions, can only sell it to a wholesaler who sells to retailers.
The Economist reported last fall that in America AB-InBev, “is suffering growing competition from small makers of ‘craft beer.’” No surprise that AB-InBev has been snapping up craft breweries from Long Island to Oregon, despite the disdain for those beers and their effete drinkers in the Anheuser-Busch Super Bowl ad. It now controls almost half of the U.S. beer market.
In this environment, AB-InBev’s move to expand its distribution footprint raised alarms. A distributor owns the exclusive right to distribute brands of its choosing in a specified area. AB-InBev, of course, wants to distribute the brands it owns. So, the distributor, instead of hustling to serve ever-changing consumer tastes at competitive prices, is pushing its own brands at its own prices.
That inevitably means small brewers will struggle to get their products to retailers, reducing consumer choice.