Meeting Public Comments

Subcommittee meeting and times are as follows:
A bill for an act providing for the direct shipment of beer and including effective date provisions.
Subcommittee members: Sexton-CH, Cooling, Lundgren
Date: Thursday, February 1, 2024
Time: 12:30 PM - 1:00 PM
Location: House Lounge
Names and comments are public records. Remaining information is considered a confidential record.
Comments Submitted:

Sam DeWitt [Brewers Association]
Members of the subcommittee: My name is Sam DeWitt, state government affairs manager with the Brewers Association, a 501(c)6 national trade association dedicated to promoting and protecting America's small and independent craft brewers, their beers, and the growing community of craft beer lovers. I write today in support of HF 260, a common sense bill that allows breweries to ship their beer directly to consumers who are not able to get those products in their local markets through traditional distribution channels. This is an idea whose time has come. The systems and safeguards to protect against underage access are in place thanks to wine's pioneering of the issue decades ago. We ask that you help small brewers create and maintain relationships with people who love their beer, allowing breweries to grow their businesses and continue to innovate with new products and specialty offerings.You're likely to hear from opponents of this measure that this will undo the current threetier system of alcoholic beverage control, but those concerns are unfounded and shortsighted. The truth is, this will help brewers seed new markets with their beer, and in some cases can even lead to distribution with a wholesaler in those areas. Directtoconsumer shipping of craft beer makes sense, for brewers reaching new buyers, for consumers craving more choice, and for wholesalers seeking new products to add to their portfolios. And the reality is that years of directtoconsumer wine shipments has not put wholesalers or retailers of wine out of business. Indeed, Department of Labor figures show that states which already allow directtoconsumer beer shipments have slightly higher rates of employment at beer wholesalers than states that do not permit directtoconsumer sales.We live in an era where you can order everything online, including socially sensitive products like prescription medications and firearms, and have them delivered to your door. There is simply no reason not to offer craft brewers the same opportunities. You may also hear about the increase in athome drinking driven during the COVID19 pandemic, supposedly fueled by directtoconsumer sales. But the overwhelming majority of pandemicera home deliveries came through threetier channels, as retailers of all stripes ramped up their delivery businesses. Connoisseurs of hardtofind beer ordering products that will take days to arrive and include significant freight costs are simply not comparable to lockdownbound consumers ordering nightly togo drinks from the local bar or restaurant.Thank you for the opportunity to submit these comments. I've attached the BA's basic principles for directtoconsumer craft beer shipping to this message, and you'll note that they dovetail perfectly with HF 260. I urge you to move to move this legislation forward, and to contact me directly if you have any questions or if there is anything I can clarify.Cheers,Sam DeWittBrewers Association