Richmond Clears Restaurant Hurdle in Stone Deal
The Richmond City Council unanimously approved a deal Monday to cede control over a plot of land critical to Stone Brewing’s plans to build a brewery in the city, clearing what had turned into a bit of a hurdle for the project. According to a report from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the council voted to transfer control over a warehouse near the James River to the city’s Economic Development Authority. Stone plans to build out a restaurant and beer garden in the warehouse. As Brewbound reported last week, the city had been struggling to figure out how to best protect itself in the deal and delayed action on the land transfer in order to add language that would revert the property back to city ownership should the deal default. The delay held up the rest of the project because Stone wanted to secure a property for its restaurant before moving forward with anything. Some restaurateurs in the city have criticized this aspect of the deal as government unfairly playing favorites and picking winners.
Georgia Lawmaker Reportedly Wielding Influence to Kill Beer Bill
A bill that aims to repeal a number of prohibition-era regulations in the state of Georgia could live or die based on how a potential gubernatorial candidate wields his influence, according to a report from Creative Loafing. Unnamed sources at the capitol told the website that Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle has been encouraging lawmakers to sit on Senate Bill 63 – the so-called “Beer Jobs Bill” – to ensure it doesn’t make it out of committee. The bill, as Brewbound has previously reported, would allow for limited direct-to-consumer sales at breweries for both on- and off-premise consumption (currently, breweries are not allowed to sell direct to consumers at all) and allow for brewpubs to sell beer for off-premise consumption. The bill has been opposed by the Georgia Beer Wholesalers Association, which in 2014 donated $12,600 to Cagle’s campaign, according to Creative Loafing. In all, beer wholesalers in the state contributed more than $130,000 to Cagle’s campaign in 2014, the article adds.
Boston Beer Co-Founder Launches New Distillery
Rhonda Kallman, who co-founded Boston Beer Co. with Jim Koch, is getting set to open a new distillery in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston. According to the Boston Globe, Boston Harbor Distillery is expected to be open for tours and commercial production out of its 11,000 sq. ft. facility in early spring. “Whiskey is clearly the next emerging category,” Kallman, who spent 15 years at Boston Beer, told the Globe. “[Consumers] are looking for bigger, bolder, more flavorful beverages.” After leaving Boston Beer, Kallman founded New Century Brewing, a Cohasset-based brewery that she closed after the FDA determined it was unsafe to mix caffeine and malt beverages, effectively making illegal the company’s caffeinated flagship, Moonshot.
CIDER Act Passes Out of Senate Finance Committee
The CIDER Act passed out of the Senate Finance Committee last week and is now pending action on the Senate floor. Short for “Cider Industry Deserves Equal Regulation,” the CIDER Act aims to allow for increased carbonation levels for cider without increasing tax liability, include pears in the definition of “hard cider” and “align the alcohol content standard for cider with the natural sugar content of apples,” according to a release from the United States Association of Cider Makers (USACM). “Our industry is growing, and it is imperative that Congress recognize the need for these changes to ensure continue expansion,” said USACM president Mike Beck in a news release. “I look forward to working with the Senate and the House to send the CIDER Act to the President for signature sometime this year.”
Columnist Warns Florida Brewers, “Be Careful What You Ask For”
As craft brewers in Florida have been advocating for retail rights, one columnist warns of some unintended consequences that could arise should brewers be allowed to operate in the tier “almost without restrictions.” “There are other brewers that might just love these changes. These brewers churn out hundreds of millions of cases of beer each year,” writes Peter Schorsch, in the Saint Peters Blog. “They are owned by international and national entities that I dare say have access to a lot of capital and a pretty decent line of credit…capital and a line of credit that could (should I say, ‘would’?) if allowed, be used to squash the competition.” Schorsch imagines a future with mega brewers like A-B begin operating retail outlets in the state and hoard tap handles at the expense of the smaller, local breweries that are advocating for such change in the first place.