Bill in Colorado Legislature to allow taproom expansions runs into criticism

DENVER BUSINESS JOURNAL - As breweries continue to view expansion of taprooms as one of their keys to growth, a bipartisan group of legislators wants to help the local craft beer industry by making it easier and cheaper for breweries to open as many as three such tasting rooms in the state.

Senate Bill 253 is drawing some harsh criticism, however, from owners of bars and restaurants, who say it gives the booming craft beer industry, as well as the wine and spirits sectors, unfair advantages when it comes to their licensing, costs of expansion and regulations by local governments. And Sonia Riggs, president and CEO of the Colorado Restaurant Association, went even further and argued that the bill is a direct affront to the three-tier system of regulation that is intended to ensure that the manufacturing, distribution and selling of alcohol is done by different parties to avoid monopolies.

“Senate Bill 253 erodes the three tier system and gives manufacturers deliberate and unfair advantages over retailers in selling their product to the public because they can control the cost of [manufacturing], distribution and sale to the public,” Riggs said. “All this bill will do is take sales from restaurants and bars and give it to manufacturers without requiring them to jump through the same hoops that all retailers are required to follow.”
   
Craft beer continues to boom in Colorado, which is home to some 350 locally owned breweries.

Read more at the Denver Business Journal: http://bizj.us/1p4qot

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