Feb 21, 2010 4:52 PM by John Romero

Colorado brewers worried over house bills

Beer brewers from all over Colorado converged on Colorado Springs Saturday of the annual Firkin Rendezvous at Bristol Brewery. In a growing industry they would usually be celebrating another year of prosperity. But this year they say state House Bills 1186 & 1279 threaten their very being. The bills would allow full power beer to be sold in convenience and grocery stores. "That's going to put a lot of people out of work in my community." says Tony Simmons, owner and head brewer of Pagosa Brewing Company.

Bill Eye owns the Dry Dock Brewing Company in Aurora. His brewery won Mid-Size Brewing Company and Mid-Size Brewing Company Brewer of the Year at last years Great American Beer Festival in Denver. Eye says he would love to capitalize on the award and expand his brewery but the passage the house bills would make it even tougher. "We would love to get bigger and grow our business but this is going to make it hard." He explains.

Brewers also fear local liquor stores who sell craft beer could be put out of business because larger corporations could undercut their sales. "If this bill passes we are very worried." explains Simmons, "It's going to cost a lot of small liquor stores their business." He goes on to say, "I have a small brew pub in Pagosa Springs, Colorado and we distribute through 3 different liquor stores and I believe that these 2 bills are going to hurt our liquor stores, our locally run and family run liquor stores."

The larger fear for local brewers is they can't compete with the big beer distributors who can offer discounts to grocery stores to stock their beer. In turn they say many brewery jobs will be lost, costing Colorado one of its biggest industries. "We have some of the best breweries in the nation. The have the Great American Beer Fest here every year for a reason. We have educated consumers." explains Eye, "This really threatens that in a huge way."

CLICK HERE to see a copy of HB 1186

CLICK HERE to see a copy of HB 1279

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