A lot happened last week before the storms. For obvious and understandable reasons, however, our legislation has taken a back seat in our lives as well as the lives of other stakeholders. As Alabama begins a return to normalcy, here is an update.
With the help of our Senate sponsor, Bill Holtzclaw, and Alabama’s brewing community, we were able to prevent the House Committee on Economic Development and Tourism from supporting a proposed substitute for SB192 – a substitute which we believe would render SB192 an ineffective tool for brewery and brewpub reform in Alabama. We also began some realistic discussions with the wholesalers in Alabama, and on Wednesday Doug Bailey met us in Birmingham to discuss Anheuser-Busch and their role in all of this.
Bailey denied rallying opposition to SB192 with the wholesalers in Alabama as we originally reported. Despite our reports to the contrary, we accept his word that he and his company are neutral on both the Brewery Modernization Act and the Gourmet Bottle Bill.
Also, we believe we are prepared to move forward with SB192 with a substitute that we can all live with. It will not be everything we wanted, but it is definitely a workable solution and represents a significant improvement over the current restrictions. We understand their perspective much better now, and we trust they understand ours. After talking with many stakeholders directly, we expect to soon be prepared to move forward with a new substitute for SB192, and with the support of the wholesalers. Because of this, we are calling a ceasefire to the boycott.
Our decision to boycott has been controversial. We regret that some of the focus, especially outside of Alabama, was directed toward some great breweries that were caught in the middle. This was not our intention, and in hindsight it was an unfortunate, unintended consequence of our decision.