The 2011 legislative session began on Tuesday. This year we are pushing both the Brewery Modernization Act and a bill to raise the container size restriction.

The Brewery Modernization Act will be introduced in the same form that passed the Senate last year. Although we did pass the Senate last year, it’s important to realize that almost half the state senate was replaced in the last election. We can’t afford to think this is going to be easy. Brewery Modernization has never come up for a vote in the House. As usual, we appreciate your activism and will call on you to push your own legislators when the time is right. If you’re not signed up for the newsletter, it’s the best way to know when we need your help.

This will also be the first year we will be introducing a bill to raise the container size restriction. We expect a tough fight on this one, perhaps even tougher than the Gourmet Beer Bill. Also expect a grueling period of time where everyone misunderstands what we are looking for. I dread hearing about how we all just want 40s and quarts of malt liquor, but we showed with the Gourmet Beer Bill that if we stay on topic and keep at it – we’ll eventually have enough people come around.

It’s easy to be discouraged. During the battle for ABV, there was more than one person who declared, “This is never going to happen! We should all just give up, we’re wasting our time!” Many of us didn’t give up, and although it took a few years, we were rewarded with success.

Neither of our bills has been introduced in the legislature at this point. We’re taking advantage of the early break – because of the schedule, nothing can really happen until March 14 any way. In the interim, we will be finalizing discussion with our sponsors and with others who have an interest in our legislation.