Author Topic: Help Save Colorado Beer Culture  (Read 2302 times)

Offline guild

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Help Save Colorado Beer Culture
« on: February 17, 2010, 07:21:13 PM »
Dear Colorado Beer Lover:

The Colorado Brewers Guild (CBG) would like your assistance. Two bills are moving in the Colorado Legislature that will make it harder for you to get craft beer in the future and, if you find it, it will probably cost more. Bad news!

By allowing convenience stores and grocery stores to sell full strength beer, HB1186 (the Convenience-Store Bill) and HB1279 (the Grocery-Store Bill) will dramatically change the Colorado beer landscape by allowing corporate store beer buyers to control the majority of shelf space decisions within these outlets.

HB1186 is moving to the House Finance Committee and is scheduled to be heard February 24.

HB1279 is soon to be introduced. All information is enclosed in this communication so you can click and cut & paste to send your message if you choose to take action and help CBG.

1. Please take action and ask for the NO vote for the seventeen legislators listed below. Phone numbers and email addresses are provided. Also find YOUR Colorado Representative and contact him or her. Find your Representative here, or visit http://www.VoteSmart.org enter your zip code and look for your Colorado State Representative found under the State Legislative section.

2. Please leave a voice mail and send an email that says the following to the seventeen representatives (or draft your own message covering these points: Vote NO on HB1186 & HB1279 -- preserve jobs and save my Colorado beer by maintaining vital access to market for my Colorado brewer).

Sample Message:
Dear Representative_____________________,
Please vote NO on HB1186 and HB1279.
My name is ____________________ and I love Colorado craft beer. I need your help. I need you to vote NO on HB1186 the Convenience-Store bill and HB1279 the Grocery-Store bill.
These bills are putting my beer at risk because my favorite brewery is less likely to get vital shelf space if corporate chain stores control the Colorado beer market. If I can’t find my favorite craft beer on the shelf, I can’t buy it. Access to market is critical in the beer industry and these bills move in the wrong direction.
These bills will kill jobs, not grow them.

Please vote NO and preserve primary employer jobs in Colorado. Our brewers make stuff. They brew beer. That’s important. Help Colorado Brewers grow, and grow the state economy.
Colorado is the envy of the nation when it comes to craft beer and these bills will change that. These bills mean less selection and higher prices for Colorado beer lovers, like me, and I am upset.
Please vote NO on HB1186 and HB1279.
Sincerely,
Name
Town
Email
Telephone
_______________________________________________________________
House Finance Committee
Joel Judd
Colorado State Representative, District 5
Capitol Phone: (303)866-2925
E-Mail: repjoeljudd@joeljudd.com
Debbie Benefield
Colorado State Representative, District 29
Capitol Phone: 303-866-2950
E-mail: debbie.benefield.house@state.co.us
Brian DelGrosso
Colorado State Representative, District 51
Capitol Phone: (303)866-2947
E-Mail: brian@briandelgrosso.com
K. Jerry Frangas
Colorado State Representative, District 4
Capitol Phone: (303)866-2954
E-Mail: kjerry.frangas.house@state.co.us
Cheri Gerou
Colorado State Representative, District 25
Capitol Phone: (303)866-2582
E-Mail: cheri.gerou.house@state.co.us
Daniel Kagan
Colorado State Representative, District 3
Capitol Phone: (303)866-2921
E-Mail: repkagan@gmail.com
John Kefalas
Colorado State Representative, District 52
Capitol Phone: 303-866-4569
E-Mail: john.kefalas.house@state.co.us
Jeanne Labudan
Colorado State Representative, District 1
Capitol Phone: (303)866-2966
E-Mail: jeanne.labuda.house@state.co.us
Ellen Roberts
Colorado State Representative, District 59
Capitol Phone: (303)866-2914
E-Mail: ellen.roberts.house@state.co.us
Ken Summers
Colorado State Representative, District 22
Capitol Phone: 303-866-2927
E-mail: ken.summers.house@state.co.us
Spencer Swalm
Colorado State Representative, District 37
Capitol Phone: (303)866-5510
E-mail: spencer.swalm.house@state.co.us
Important Legislators to Contact
Mark Ferrandino
Denver Colorado State Representative, District 2
Capitol Phone: (303)866-2911
E-Mail: mferrandino@yahoo.com
Kathleen Curry
Colorado State Representative, District 61
Capitol Phone: (303)866-2945
E-mail: kathleen.curry.house@state.co.us
Randy Fischer
Deputy Majority Whip Colorado State Representative, District 53
Capitol Phone: (303)866-2917
E-Mail: randy.fischer.house@state.co.us
Bob Gardner
Colorado State Representative, District 21
Capitol Phone: (303)866-2191
E-Mail: bob.gardner.house@state.co.us
Kent Lambert
Colorado State Representative, District 14
Capitol Phone: (303)866-2937
E-Mail: rep.kent.lambert@comcast.net
Jack Pommer
Colorado State Representative, District 11
Capitol Phone: (303)866-2780
E-Mail: jack.pommer.house@state.co.us
Thank you for your help.
John Carlson, CCBS
Executive Director
Colorado Brewers Guild
PO Box 19736
Boulder, CO 80308

Offline mercado

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Re: Help Save Colorado Beer Culture
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2010, 05:26:56 PM »
Two bills are moving in the Colorado Legislature that will make it harder for you to get craft beer in the future and, if you find it, it will probably cost more. Bad news!

By allowing convenience stores and grocery stores to sell full strength beer, HB1186 (the Convenience-Store Bill) and HB1279 (the Grocery-Store Bill) will dramatically change the Colorado beer landscape by allowing corporate store beer buyers to control the majority of shelf space decisions within these outlets.
I received this email from AHA and I am willing to support the cause if someone can explain how the bills would cause the negative outcome described.

The way things currently are, supermarkets like King Soopers and Safeway can sell 3.2 beer.  The shelves are stocked with the typical variety of AB, Miller, Coors and a few imports.  Sometimes you'll find an Avalanche ale or something, but it's not very common.  My point is, right now there are no full strength microbrews are on those shelves.  So how could the bills make it harder to get them?

Is the CBG worried that if beer consumers saw Bud Light at their grocery store, then they won't make the extra effort to get to a liquor store to get some Old Chub?  If that was an issue, it would be happening under the current laws.  Or is the CBG more worried about the Sam Adams and Sierra Nevada's of the beer world, who actually have a shot at getting on those shelves?

Someone please explain this to me, as I would like to support my local breweries.

Offline sienabrewer

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Re: Help Save Colorado Beer Culture
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2010, 01:10:12 PM »
It allows the grocery chains to control what goes on the shelf, therefore, locking out the small breweries.  It basically would allow the grocery chains the power to control choice by not allowing the smaller guys to compete.  If they cannot even get their product on the shelf (i.e. because they don't have enough money to influence the chains) they are doomed to fail. 

Offline mikeypedersen

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Re: Help Save Colorado Beer Culture
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2010, 01:37:12 PM »
This is the way I see it, and have no affiliation with the CBG, so please don't take this as coming from the CBG:

For the big grocery & convenience chains (Safeway, King Soopers, 7-11, and so on), their corporate office decides what to purchase and stock.  If you saw Beer Wars, this was one of the more interesting aspects of the movie.  The way BMC will package the same product in many different ways to dominate shelf space.  For example, they might have Budweiser in 12 oz bottles, 12 oz cans, 16 oz cans, 24 oz cans, 24 oz bottles, 32 oz bottles, 8 oz cans, and then inside of that in 6 packs, 12 packs, 18 packs, 24 packs and 30 packs.  This is so that they can say that the stores should stock all of the different varieties of the way they package their beer, thereby eating up more shelf space from their competitors.  Do we really need 10 different ways to buy Bud Light?  They have the most influence over these chains, and with all of these "different" products, they can force out space that Micros would get.  Not to mention, they don't care about real local brewer that can't provide for their hundreds of stores.

If you give them this opportunity, it will cause a lot of the Mom & Pop liquor stores in CO to go out of business, because now people are going to be buying the majority of their beer at the Grocery Store so they don't have to make another stop.  There will be some large micros, but certainly not the selection at the local Mom & Pop or small liquor chain.  When those Mom & Pop and small chain liquor stores go out of business the small brewery in that town, or the next town over just lost a huge stream of revenue as one of the few stores who carried their product just went out of business.

There is more to it than just that, but that is the foundation of the argument to me.  Just my $.02.

Offline homebrewgamecock

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Re: Help Save Colorado Beer Culture
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2010, 02:26:47 PM »
While I agree that these bills are not something I support, I will play devils advocate. 

Colorado has liquor stores that sell beer, wine and hard alcohol.  I live in Louisville CO and just around the corner from house there are 2 very good liquor stores for craft beer and imports.  As someone that does not buy BMC, I go to these stores for my craft beer purchases or all my beer purchases for that matter.  If the craft beer cannot get shelf space in the grocery stores or convenience stores, why will they lose business?  They don't have that shelf space now.  People in CO are already conditioned to frequent these liquor stores because they can buy beer, wine and liquor in one store as well as a great selection of craft beer.  If the big chain stores fill their shelves with BMC, than nothing has changed really.  The craft beers are not available there now. 

When I lived in CA years back the grocery stores had an awesome selection of craft beer and they sold liquor and wine.  You could buy all your groceries, beer, wine and whiskey in one place.  I still found plenty of liquor stores that were open and seemed to be doing a good business.

I guess I question the theory that the educated CO beer drinker / consumer will all of a sudden only buy BMC because it's in the grocery store.  Once again, it's there now.  CO is one state that have lived where there is a highly educated beer population and a population of beer drinkers that want more than BMC.  Maybe I am looking at this wrong, but I don't see craft beer losing shelf space they don't have now.

Offline mikeypedersen

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Re: Help Save Colorado Beer Culture
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2010, 03:22:51 PM »
Government control is a good thing. We need more of it.
Brewboy, was killing one thread this week not enough for you?  ???

Offline coypoo

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Re: Help Save Colorado Beer Culture
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2010, 05:20:44 PM »
  They don't have that shelf space now. 

I live in CO as well, and this is the only thing that confuses me. If they arent in the grocery stores now, what changes when they arent there in a year. The people buying craft beer will still go to the liquor stores to buy good beer, they arent all of a sudden switch to bud b/c its at the grocery store.

Offline The Professor

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Re: Help Save Colorado Beer Culture
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2010, 06:30:07 PM »
It's all a matter of perspective, I guess.  Here in NJ, a lot of us are hoping for future availability of beer in grocery and convenience stores.

Quite frankly, I don't see how it is a bad thing to have such availability.  And I don't buy into the whole 'Beer Wars" premise to begin with (I wasn't crazy about the movie) so maybe I'm biased.  Besides, such a move wouldn't (I assume) affect availability of a wider variety of beers in the traditional and established outlets.

So overall, wider availability in general seems more like a positive than a negative.

In any case, I don't live in Colorado... so whatever happens, I wish y'all luck and hope for the best outcome that serves the common good.
AL
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Offline 1vertical

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Re: Help Save Colorado Beer Culture
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2010, 11:59:15 PM »
grrrrrrrr >:(
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Offline homebrewgamecock

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Re: Help Save Colorado Beer Culture
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2010, 01:12:45 PM »
I guess I am still trying to determine what will be different for craft beer.  Currently - no craft beer in grocery or convenience stores.  With these bills - potentially still no craft beer in grocery or convenience stores.  How does this hurt craft beer?

Offline The Professor

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Re: Help Save Colorado Beer Culture
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2010, 01:50:28 PM »
I guess I am still trying to determine what will be different for craft beer.  Currently - no craft beer in grocery or convenience stores.  With these bills - potentially still no craft beer in grocery or convenience stores.  How does this hurt craft beer?

Exactly.  Not being in CO his doesn't directly affect me, although I forsee that retail laws in my home state will probably change to allow grocery store/convenience store sales sometime in the future.

This really does look like a non-issue though, and I would agree that I don't understand how this would harm "craft" beer.  It may even help it.
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Offline Pawtucket Patriot

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Re: Help Save Colorado Beer Culture
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2010, 06:55:29 PM »
I think I can see the argument that this legislation would harm craft breweries.  I think it was in the movie American Beer that some head brewers at the bigger craft breweries indicated they distributed either through BMC or their subsidiaries.  So, if regional corporate buyers are going to be controlling what makes it on convenience and grocery store shelves, they're likely to buy more product distributed through BMC and their subsidiaries than from smaller, craft breweries with independent distribution.  This would be the case because the BMC-distributed product would probably be cheaper (because the sales volume would be higher) and there would probably be at least some pressure from those distributors to keep pushing the big boys' product (BMC is BIG account -- Mr. Corporate Buyer would not let that relationship dry up by catering to small-time brewers).

On the other hand, I don't live in CO so I don't know the ins and outs of regional distributor/retailer relationships.  I do know, from my limited experience traveling in CO, that there is a huge craft brew scene.  I imagine this scene has at least some influence on consumer culture and, ultimately, consumers are what drive sales.  If consumers want the smaller breweries' product to be on the shelves of their local convenience and grocery stores, then in the the immortal words of Jean-Luc Picard, I'm sure they could "make it so."   ;D
« Last Edit: February 20, 2010, 06:58:00 PM by Pawtucket Patriot »
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Offline gsandel

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Re: Help Save Colorado Beer Culture
« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2010, 07:42:58 PM »
I also live in CO, and don't fully buy the argument that this will put mom and pop out of business.  I postulate this.  Mom and Pop's sales of Bud, Miller, and Coors drop.  This will not likely even put the low end liquor stores out of business as they carry many of the "exotic" Malt Liquor's, quarts and cheap bottles of booze.  The high end stores won't need to feature or carry Bud, Miller, or Coors (if it isn't selling), they can focus on the import and specialty beers.  The big winners here in Colorado will be New Belgium and maybe O'Dells or Great Divide who might be able to get into grocery stores (stores will be stupid not to carry them here).  New Belgium definitely will benefit.

What Colorado needs to do is to allow small breweries (under some bbl threshold) to self distribute without much hassle.  Some breweries here (Upslope comes to mind) have a distributor's license, but all the small ones should, and then they can compete by cutting the middle man.

Craft Brewers should never try to compete with the big boys on price or shelve space in Grocery stores.
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Offline brewmoor

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Re: Help Save Colorado Beer Culture
« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2010, 08:31:33 AM »
I too live in Colorado. I also believe that this bill will not be very harmful. Grocery stores cannot sell liquor and wine. So the mom and pops will still be selling those items. When I go into the store to purchase wine for my girlfriend I will pick of my beer. I think that we might be overreacting in this situation. Sure some of the smaller places down in the front range might be hurt by this. That is just business. There were probably too many to begin with. Up here in the mountains where I live, it will not affect us. Our businesses are based on tourism. Travelers will go where they are told to go. Our concierges, bellman, and locals will point them to the stores their friends work. We will always support our local businesses if they are worthy of it. In my town particularly I could see this hurting one store. They are nothing more then a BMC shop. They sell mostly crappy beer and crappy wine. They will probably go away and I say good.

I think it has been said a few post back. Distribution laws should be our focus. Craft beer should be setting their sites on changing things in this arena to really get themselves out there. This is ultimately what is hurting the small guy brewer in Colorado.

Offline dbeechum

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Re: Help Save Colorado Beer Culture
« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2010, 10:48:38 AM »
Denny and I have received a couple of questions behind the scenes about why this discussion doesn't run afoul of the "No Politics" rule. So I thought I would just take a second and put the rationale out there.

The OP's message was included in a message sent to the AHA membership informing them of the impending bills. Since there had been an AHA communique on the subject and the bills in question are clearly beer related we decided to let it ride.

In other words, you may see more posts in the future that talk about changing other beer laws as well, but nothing of a non-beer political nature. (aka I won't be inundating you with my own crackpot political beliefs any time soon  ;D)
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