There seems to be a lot of speculation floating around about why we accepted the substitute and ended the boycott. Some of it is from people trying to support our decision and some of it is from critics of the decision.
It was not the tornadoes. I’m sure that had some affect on our psyche – it certainly makes beer legislation seem more petty. But we are all aware that this is important legislation despite natural disasters.
We are asking you to accept two things:
- We leveraged everything to get the language of the substitute as far as we could get it. It’s not 100% where we wanted it, but it is as far as it will go this year and it will represent a sweeping change in Alabama brewery laws .
- We pass this substitute, or we pass nothing this year. It is that black and white. We all saw what happened to homebrew, and you should also realize that there are only 7 legislative days left in the year. If we “stick to our guns,” we won’t even come up for a vote. This is asking for some faith from you guys, but we know that we either pass this substitute, or we pass nothing.
If we didn’t feel the substitute was a substantive improvement in brewery laws in Alabama, we might have made a different decision. If we thought we could get more, we would go for it.
We’re used to criticism. We accepted the Brooks Amendment in 2009 in order for the Gourmet Beer Bill to pass. Before that, we accepted a 13.9% compromise (the original bill had a cap at 14.9%). We were called sellouts and one or two even proclaimed that they would never renew their membership to Free the Hops. That’s fine. We still saw an amazing influx of craft beers in Alabama and the growth of the brewing industry in the state. The Brooks Amendment was even repealed a year later with the help of the wholesalers in Alabama.
So a few people are loudly proclaiming that we’re sellouts this year for accepting this compromise instead of sticking to our idealism and going down in flames. Maybe you’ll run into them later this year, sitting in an Alabama tap room, enjoying special release from an Alabama brewery, complaining that we should have stuck to our guns.