Now before the Governor after being substituted in conference committee, H.B. 1715 1) defines seltzer and modifies the definition of beer to mean any beverage containing more than 0.5% of alcohol by volume and obtained by the alcoholic fermentation of an infusion or decoction of barley, or other grain, sugar, malt or similar products; 2) adds cider to the list of products a brewer may manufacture, sell, and serve at events attended by the public; 3) allows the holder of a small brewer license to purchase from other licensed brewers within the state, and to import beer into the state for use in manufacturing; 4)modifies the procedures that must be in place for a brewer to terminate a distributor agreement with any beer distributor to include requiring the brewer to establish good cause for such termination, and authorizes the arbitration panel to order that 100% of arbitration costs be paid by the smaller brewer if the panel determines that the small brewer’s payment upon termination was not a good-faith estimate of the fair market value. In the instance that a particular brand of beer is transferred by purchase or otherwise from a brewer to a successor brewer, and the successor brewer holds a brewer’s license in the state as of January 1, 2023 and has an existing distribution agreement with a beer distributor, the measure allows the successor brewer to terminate the distribution agreement, in whole or in part, in order to transfer the brand rights to the successor brewer’s beer distributor. A 60 day written notice must be provided to the terminated distributor along with payment to the terminated beer distributor for the fair market value of the distributor’s business with the brand or brands.
Pete Johnson serves as the State & Regulatory Affairs Manager for the Brewers Association (BA). He joined the BA at its inception in 2005, having previously worked as Programs Director for the Brewers Association of America. Before coming to the small brewing industry in 2001, Pete worked for 14 years with both state and federal elected officials in Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.See Pete Johnson's Articles