Monday, March 18, 2013

More on artisan distilling legislation in Indiana.

Hoosier artisan distilling legislation was featured on Sunday morning at "Inside Indiana Business" (WTTS 13, Indianapolis).

Omar and Clay Robinson of Sun King Brewing Company were interviewed, and the segment can be viewed here. There's also a poll at the Inside Indiana Business website, asking yes or no to artisan distilling in Indiana. Scroll down to the middle of the page and look for a blue bar that says VIEWPOINT.

I voted yes.

Obviously, the Brewers of Indiana Guild -- of which I'm a board member -- supports this legislation. Rep. Ed Clere has shepherded it through the House, and Sen. Ron Grooms is in favor, too. The guild's executive director provides the following bullet list to member breweries; while reading it, note that mashing grains and fermenting it is a fundamental step both for beer making and distillation (sans hops). Distillation serves to concentrate the alcohol. Whiskies, and most vodkas and gins, are grain-based. Conversely, brandies derive from grapes or fruit, and our friends at Huber already distill from this portal.
  • Brewers may not currently hold a distiller's permit under Indiana law.
  • Many of your colleagues (and not just the larger breweries) seek the option of distilling to keep them competitive and profitable.
  • You may not want to distill right now, but the new law will give your brewery the option to distill in the future.
  • This bill would allow brewers to not only produce spirits, but sell them directly to the public onsite (up to 10,000 gallons a year).
  • Indiana lags way behind other states in this regard. Your YES vote will help modernize Indiana's bizarre and sometimes archaic alcoholic beverage laws.
The legislation expands economic development opportunities in a fashion consistent with historical precedent, while not making distillation available to any stray carpetbagger with a wad of cash. Participating breweries would have to show a track record before distillation is approved. NABC has no plans to distill any time soon, although the production of beer schnapps might occur some day. This is a good law, and deserves your support.

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