Louisiana’s 29 craft beer breweries are under pressure after the State Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control unveiled new regulations on the breweries last week.
More specifically, they’re ‘clarifications’ to pre-existing regulations, intended to clear-up any gray areas in laws involving breweries.
Among them–food sales and social media policies.
The profits from a brewery’s food sales cannot exceed 25% of their beer sales.
And breweries cannot give “anything of value” to retailers who sell their products, like social media advertisements.
Those who share their craft say the reigns are a little too tight.
“As far as the advisory notice goes, I would like to see a little bit more progression because I may want to go in that direction.”, says Heath Lord, the owner of Ouachita Brewing Company.
Some south Louisiana breweries have threatened to go elsewhere, which could negatively affect the state.
“The negative impact on it, in my mind– huge, because you lose a lot of culture.”, explains Lord.
Culture, yes– but money, too.
“Certainly we would lose a great source of revenue for the state, for the local municipalities as well.”, says Robert Brewer, of Flying Tiger Brewery.
The ‘Louisiana Craft Brewers Guild’, a group representing state breweries is in the process of voicing these concerns to ATC, and is hoping to come up with more forward-thinking policies.
“I think they’re in the middle, I think there’s compromise on both sides.”, says Lord.
Brewer says, “Although we may not agree on everything, I feel like we have a good collegial relationship now, and I look forward to us closing the gap on some of those differences.”
For now, local breweries say Louisiana’s regulations are still far behind neighboring states like Arkanasas and Texas.
The ATC issued the following statement:
” Louisiana Alcohol and Tobacco Control is responsible for enforcing the provisions of Title 26 statewide. As Commissioner, I am committed to the growth of the craft brewery industry within the state. I believe it to be a great asset. The craft brewery guild and the ATC have worked diligently to craft guidance which will ensure consistent regulation while providing a fertile environment for industry growth. I look forward to working with the guild in the future to bring wonderful and unique beer products to the citizens of the state.”