Support and development of State Brewers Guilds remains a major focus of the Brewers Association in 2012. The addition of Acacia Coast, the trade group's State Brewers Association Coordinator has helped the BA become more of a resource for existing and fledgling guilds. Acacia has been busy crisscrossing the country attending state brewers association meetings with many of them centered on initial guild formation.
Recently, Acacia provided an update on the Pennsylvania Guild.
The Brewers of Pennsylvania (BOP) recently held their annual meeting in Hershey, Pennsylvania on January 30th and 31st. Though the guild has existed for over 5 years, this last year was the first year the guild was able to organize to take action.
In 2010, Pennsylvania ranked second in the U.S. in craft-brewed barrels. With an estimated 1.5 million+ barrels produced, Pennsylvania is currently ranked number 6 in the number of craft breweries and total breweries per state.
Bill Covaleski, guild President and owner of Victory Brewing Company, guided two days of meetings with the help of the BOP Board of Directors.
Under the direction of their new Executive Director, Dan LaBert, the guild solicited sponsorship from brewery suppliers to fund the meeting. Each sponsor gave 15-minute presentations by suppliers – two presentations at dinner and four during the course of the full day meeting. The suppliers had a very valuable opportunity to showcase their services to a prospering group of breweries and the breweries were able to learn more about goods and services vital to their business.
The Brewers of Pennsylvania had many successes in 2011. In their first year of organization, they were able to achieve a substantial advocacy voice. With the assistance of their legal counsel, and strong participation by brewery members, they were able to pass numerous acts that:
Streamlined brand registration
Permitted breweries to sell and serve beer on & off-premise in containers of any size currently approved by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB)
Permitted Brewpubs to sell and serve their products at up to 50 off-premise catered events per year
They were able to change Pennsylvania Liquor Code to:
Expand Sunday sales hours for alcohol
Expand happy hour times
Permit zoos to sell alcohol at private events
Simplify the licenses required to serve beer to consumers
They also provided input regarding privatization of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board on three occasions last year. They presented testimony at both House Liquor Control Committee hearings on the subject.
The meeting also allowed for the development of goals for the guild’s outreach in 2012. Through the support of their legal counsel, new Executive Director, and Guild PAC, the Brewers of Pennsylvania will have an extensive impact on the local brewing industry.
An Economic Impact Study of Pennsylvania Breweries was authorized by the General Assembly of Pennsylvania in January 2012. The state’s Legislative Budget and Finance Committee is now obligated to conduct a study detailing and measuring the economic impact of the brewery industry in Pennsylvania. This study will review the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board with regard to its impact on the brewing industry in Pennsylvania. The committee conducting the study will also be tasked with identifying ways in which job growth in Pennsylvania could be promoted through government and community assistance. We will see results of this study in late 2012 or early 2013.
Many brewery representatives added their support for HB 1236 / S534 legislation seeking to reduce the small brewer excise tax rates. After one brewery owner gave a summary of the bill and encouraged other breweries to get involved by inviting state representatives to the brewery to help develop relationships, educate them and create support for american craft beer.
A new BOP website is due to go live this month and will help with communication, membership outreach and education.
Aside from the professionalism of the BOP’s annual meeting it was quite a delicious treat to join their meetings held at the Hershey lodge. The whole place smelled like chocolate and housekeeping leaves Hershey Kisses each day. Please note, I would not be adverse to all state guilds holding their future meetings at the Hershey Lodge.
Thank you Bill, Dan, and the Pennsylvania craft community, I was able to bring home many best practices to share with the guilds across the US.