Press Clips: Miami’s First Craft Brewery; Proposed Tax Hikes; Defining Craft Beer

Alchemy & Science may have stolen headlines with its Concrete Beach announcement last week, but a different Miami-based brewery actually beat the wholly-owned Boston Beer subsidiary to the title of “Miami’s first craft brewery.”

Wynwood Brewing Co. — which was founded by a father-son duo, Luis C. and Luis G. Brigoni — officially opened its doors on Friday, Oct. 11, just prior to Alchemy & Science’s own Miami brewery announcement. The two breweries are located just blocks apart from one another.

The Brigonis said they anticipate brewing 1,200 barrels of beer in Wynwood Brewing’s first year of operation.

According to the Miami Herald, to help finance the 15-barrel Wynwood Brewing project, the Brigonis secured a $420,000 government loan. The Herald reported that the loan — seven years, interest free, requiring no payments for the first two years — comes from federal funding but was administered by the state.

On the other side of the country, in Utah, beer taxes could be rising.

State Representative Jack Draxler is proposing a tax on beer that would fluctuate depending on the consumer price index, though not exceeding 4 percent, according to local news outlet, KSL.

This isn’t unprecedented, of course.

Back in January, brewers in New Hampshire, with the support of their governor, fought a tax hike that would’ve raised the price of beer sold from wholesalers to retailers by 10 cents more on the Granite State’s 30-cent per gallon rate.

Draxler proposed similar legislation last year, according to the Standard Examiner, but was voted down by committee.

For what it’s worth, the tax proposed in New Hampshire was by Democratic representatives, while Draxler in Utah is a Republican.

Elsewhere on the web, Eric Ottaway, general manager of Brookyln Brewery, offered a brief history lesson on craft beer for Business Insider.

Ottaway cites “the ubiquitous blandness of the 70s and 80s” as helping to spark the craft revolution that started on the west coast, jumped east and has continued to spread everywhere in between.

“Coffee was crystals you added hot water to. Bread had 43 different ingredients in it and bore no resemblance to real bread,” he says in the 90-second video clip. “Beer similarly had become fairly tasteless.”

Ottaway notes that while people might forgo buying fancy cars or televisions in times of financial stress, people aren’t willing to compromise on smaller luxuries regarding their taste, something beer has benefited from.

“The craft beer segment actually accelerated its growth in the worst financial crisis the country has seen,” he said.

Reflecting Ottaway’s assertion, there are now more than 2,500 small U.S. breweries, and they’re popping up everywhere. In an effort to help protect the business interests of those companies, the Brewers Association continually reminds mainstream media outlets of its own craft brewery definition. James Watt and Martin Dickie, the controversial co-founders of the UK’s BrewDog Brewery, recently endorsed similar standards for their own country on the BrewDog company blog.

“From my perspective, the U.S. craft beer movement has only been able to grow as it has because of the U.S .Brewers’ Association’s official and accepted definition of craft beer,” they write.

The pair believes that a similar definition would help protect UK-based craft brewery businesses by ensuring fair and sustainable prices, supplying consumers with brewery ownership information and, lastly, by helping to foster the same type of craft brewed renaissance that U.S. business owners have experienced in the last decade.

But the real reason why Dickie and Watt feel so strongly about the need for a definition?

“3 words: Blue Fucking Moon,” they write.

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