Breweries of Tennessee Unite!

By - July 26, 2011 | Alcoholic Beverage Law | Email Will Cheek

The recently passed law legitimizing high alc beer has another happy ending. A Tennessee Craft Brewers trade association. 18 breweries from across the state gathered and unanimously voted to form a guild at an organizational meeting in Nashville on July 16.

A bit of history. This spring, a high alc beer bill was hijacked in the legislature by powerful forces that sought to limit brewing high alc beer to a single brewery that was looking to locate a large brewery in Tennessee. Local Tennessee craft brewers started coming out of the woodworks, and when the dust settled, the high alc beer law applied to all Tennessee breweries. Read more on the high alc beer law here.

A lot of the credit goes to the one selected brewery, which made it clear that it would not come to Tennessee unless all breweries in Tennessee could brew and taste high alc beer in their taprooms.

Credit also goes to Linus Hall of Yazoo and several smaller craft breweries that quickly called legislators to help ensure the right of all Tennessee breweries to brew high alc beer.

The legislative fight brought Tennessee craft breweries together, perhaps for the first time on a state-wide scale. Folks discovered that the state has over 30 breweries operating or in the process of opening. Here is one list, which we know does not include a handful of our clients looking to open breweries, and undoubtedly there are others opening breweries. Brewing in Tennessee is poised to flourish.

Adam Palmer of Knoxville’s Marble City Brewing Company was quoted as saying: “The formation of the Tennessee Craft Brewers Guild is exciting for a few reasons. There is a reason there aren’t more breweries in this state and it is in large part due to the restrictive laws. Setting up a unified and organized guild will help give the breweries a stronger voice when it comes time for writing or re-writing legislation as it pertains to beer laws. The guild will also be used to promote craft beer in the state of Tennessee through discussion boards, seminars, festivals, and other special events.”

We also see the association as an excellent marketing opportunity. The success of Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail shows that organized marketing can draw more tourists to several competing distilleries. For example, beer aficionados visiting Nashville could sample beers from several local craft taprooms, with proper marketing from the Tennessee Craft Brewers Guild.

The future is bright for Tennessee Craft Breweries.

Miller Time Out?

By - July 13, 2011 | Alcoholic Beverage Law | Email Will Cheek

You never know what will happen when you file your renewal at the 11th hour. MillerCoors just learned the hard way. The beer giant has been asked to pull all 39 brands of beer off the shelves in the entire State of Minnesota. All because their brand registration renewals did not get processed before state government was shut down over a budget dispute.

According to early media reports, MillerCoors’ check for renewal of the 39 brands was delivered to the state liquor control days before the registrations were set to terminate. But they overpaid, and had to submit a new check.

Normally, no big deal. Unless the government shuts down before you deliver your check.

Minnesotans love their suds and the hot summer months are huge for the beer business. If the state follows through on its order to remove product, restaurants, bars, grocery stores and even the Minnesota Twins will be out of Coors, Miller Lite, Blue Moon and 36 other MillerCoors brands.

We’ve said it before – we’ll say it again. Renew your licenses on time.