Unfortunately, powerful special interests occasionally seem like too much to overcome. This time it’s Anheuser-Busch and their distribution network in Alabama. It has become increasingly clear to us that they have been working hard to defeat our bills over the last few weeks.
This all started when Doug Bailey, a high-powered lobbyist with Anheuser-Busch, came to Alabama and started drumming up opposition to our Brewery Modernization Act. The Alabama Wholesale Beer Association is not opposed to this bill, but Mr. Bailey was successful in convincing many Anheuser-Busch wholesalers in this state to work against us.
We were offered a proposed compromise. We counter-offered, they counter-offered, and in the end we actually liked what was proposed - we were ready to accept it if they were ready to support it.
Then they reneged. The compromise was no longer acceptable, and they offered another compromise. This went on for some time, and each time the ball on the Brewery Modernization Act was moved farther away from what was acceptable. Their latest proposed language, given to us this week, was nothing short of an abomination.
If that whole ordeal seems like a stalling tactic designed to waste our time, well… I can see where one would reach that conclusion. We’re no longer playing their game.
Anheuser Busch and their individual distributors have every right to work the legislature against the Brewery Modernization Act. They can be opposed to a jobs-creating, economic development bill that would benefit local business. They can oppose craft beer and Free the Hops. But the craft beer community and Free the Hops can oppose them too.
Anheuser-Busch products and products from their distribution network are now banned from Free the Hops events. This will have its first big effect on the Rocket City Brewfest and will continue with the Magic City Brewfest unless the Brewery Modernization Act becomes law in a form we find acceptable.
We also call on our members and supporters to boycott these products. Here is a list of which products are carried by these opponents to craft beer.
This ban and boycott will be in effect until the Brewery Modernization Act becomes law in a form we find acceptable. The ball is in their court.