Raise a glass to Nebraska’s craft breweries and beer distributors for finding a compromise on the rules for beer is brought to market.
The Nebraska Liquor Control Commission announced last week that area microbrewers and the companies who ship their products had reached an deal to squelch a conflict that had been burning hot since year's legislative session. Both parties’ settling what it takes for beer to be “at rest” — the crux of last year’s legislative brouhaha — is welcome news.
Beer is a booming business in Nebraska. While the state doesn’t yet have any breweries west of U.S 83, craft brewers have brought energy and income to many small and midsize towns between North Platte and Omaha.
Breweries provide places such as Atkinson, Fairfield, Ohiowa and Taylor with jobs and tourism at a time when both can be in short supply in parts of this state. These businesses represent hope for local entrepreneurs and serve as proof positive that Nebraskans can succeed at creating something in their hometowns or other communities off the beaten path.
Nebraska breweries’ operations have little in common with the international giants that produce Budweiser or Miller products, beyond that both make beer. Striking a balance that reflects that difference is a key.
Each additional hurdle producers must jump before their bottles and cans reach consumers has a disproportionately negative effect on the smallest and most rural brewers.
The proposed deal would allow in-state shipments by Nebraska breweries to avoid long, costly treks to brick-and-mortar warehouses, as is required of major brewers shipping into this state. Instead, that exchange may take place in a distributor's truck.
This ensures that all parties involved have a cost-effective means of conducting business, while preserving the state's ability to collect the relevant excise taxes, which are accounted for during this stage in the process.
Also worth noting is the method by which Nebraska brewers and distributors found this solution: through compromise, rather than last year's heavy-handed approach in the Legislature.
Instead of remaining at loggerheads, they came together to find a solution that was satisfactory to both sides. Based on the proposals before the Liquor Control Commission and the complimentary words representatives of both groups had for the other, it appears they’ve done just that.