Keep Beer Distribution Fair
Beer Distributors of Massachusetts, Inc. President, BIll Kelley, authored an oped in the Worcester Business Journal which corrected inaccuracies of H.2823 being communicated by opposition forces.
Beer distributors are very much a critical part of the successful beer industry in Massachusetts. Distributors make investments to promote and market beers – only when beers succeed do distributors succeed.
Below is the article in full:
Beer drinkers in Worcester and across the commonwealth are enjoying the Golden Age of Beer. Walk into a liquor store or bar, and one thing is clear: Massachusetts' beer market is full of variety.
Central Massachusetts has seen the fruits of this growth, where beer drinkers enjoy high-quality beer brands from local companies such as Wormtown Brewery. So, I read with interest the article by Rob Burns "New beer laws needed this saison" on May 29, but was dismayed the article omitted important facts certain breweries have been carrying to Beacon Hill for the seven years.
Distributors make investments to promote and market beers – only when beers succeed do distributors succeed. In 2016, Massachusetts ranked 12th in the United States in barrels of craft beer produced per year, and Massachusetts now has more than 100 breweries.
Distributors take on the responsibility of marketing beer, as well as selling it to restaurants and retailers. Distributors buy the product from the brewery and then wait to receive payment from retailers. Under current law, breweries can have more than one distributor, choose to sell their lager to one distributor and their IPA to a difference distributor, choose to sell and deliver the products on their own and, like distributors, wait to be paid by retailers.
Still, emerging breweries want greater flexibility to change distributors. The Emerging Breweries Bill filed by Rep. John Mahoney (D-Worcester) would allow emerging breweries (breweries that manufacture less than 30,000 barrels of beer per year, and are privately owned and operated) to change distributors whenever they want. Breweries will only need to reimburse distributors for the brands being moved.
Other bills, including those supported by Mr. Burns, have attempted to do this by giving more power to the world's largest breweries, but those proposals would significantly damage Massachusetts' small-business distributors by taking 20 percent of a distributor's annual sales away, devastating these businesses. Legislators support jobs, not wiping out well-paid, full-time, family-sustaining middle-class jobs.