Wednesday, May 09, 2007
If You Don't See Anything Wrong, Maybe You're Part of the Problem
Ever wonder how Prohibition became the law of the land and stayed that way for so many years? The fact is that at the time alcohol was ruled out of bounds many people wondered the same thing.
Brewers of the time tried unsuccessfully to distance themselves from distillers, figuring Prohibition would likely hit liquor and not more moderate beer. Wineries in the U.S. were not all that organized. Importers lacked any real clout, and distributors did not become part of the beverage landscape until after repeal.
Most people thought the dry coalition would never be successful. The Prohibitionists organized themselves, pulling in churches, women's groups and others to form a strong coalition. In short, the drinks industry and American consumers were asleep at the wheel and lost the right to come together to enjoy adult beverages.
The Brewers Association is launching an effort to sign up people in a campaign called Support Your Local Brewery to make sure that beer lovers have a strong grassroots group. What's that you say? Prohibition can nevr happen again? Perhaps your right, but that does not mean that in your state's legislature someone is not working on a bill right now to tax you more, limit where and when you can drink or harm alcohol makers in ways that could make it more difficult or expensive to get your favorite drink.
You can get more information on the effort at: http://supportyourlocalbrewery.org.
Here are the issues currently listed on the site:
Issue: Free the Hops is working to eliminate the current 6% alcohol by volume cap imposed by state law on beer and the prohibition on selling beer in any container exceeding 16 ounces (kegs excepted).
Issue: Gov. John Baldacci has stated his commitment to expanding the state subsidized health insurance program, with possible tax increases on beer and wine funding the increases.
Issue: A Michigan think tank has publicly stated that government officials should consider raising the tax on beer as a means to address the state's budget problems.
Issue: A proposed state bill would impose a tax on all alcohol beverage wholesalers, domestic wineries, microbrew pubs and direct shippers that would raise the price of beverages.
Issue: Legislation in the House seeks to impose a “malt beverage cost recovery fee” of $32 per barrel on manufacturers and importing distributors of malt beverages.
Issue: A State Representative is proposing a bill that would raise the tax on beer - doubling the current rate of $3 per barrel - to fund alcohol treatment programs.
Issue: House Bill 94 proposes to raise the limit on the percentage of alcohol allowed in malt beverages sold at retail from 8 percent to 16 percent.