After just seven weeks at the helm, newly-appointed Colorado Brewers Guild executive director Andres Gil Zaldana is helping the state’s now-unified brewers inch closer to being able to open multiple tasting rooms.
Last week, SB17-253 — which would allow breweries to open up to three tasting rooms as well as temporary tasting rooms at farmers markets — passed out of the Senate’s Business, Labor & Technology committee on a 4-3 vote, despite opposition from the Colorado Restaurant Association and the Colorado Beer Distributors Association, Gil Zaldana wrote to Brewbound in an email.
“We have a few more steps to go with the bill (appropriations, consideration in the House, etc.), but we’re hopeful that the bill, or an amended version of the bill, will be passed this year,” he added.
Another bill, SB17-134, which reduces penalties on tasting room violations for serving to underage or visibly intoxicated people, was signed into law on March 30 thanks in part to CBG’s lobbying efforts.
The bill marks a bit of progress for the once divided Colorado brewing scene. Recall that last June, the state’s largest brewers exited the guild and started their own trade organization due to frustration with then-executive director John Carlson and the continued membership of Breckenridge Brewery, which was purchased by Anheuser-Busch InBev in December 2015. In August, Carlson resigned and the two factions merged in November.
During last week’s Craft Brewers Conference in Washington, D.C., Brewbound caught up with Gil Zaldana and operations director Steve Kurowski to discuss bringing peace to the Colorado brewing scene, their legislative agenda and their goals for the now unified group moving forward.
Watch the full video interview below.