Tuesday, 14 October 2008

From Ted on the tied house..

On Stonch's blog there are some comments on the beer tie.

See Ted's opinions - he's in Oregon Brewers Union 180:

The tied house prohibition came about as part of the repeal of prohibition in 1933 (the blessed 21st Amendment), a silly law that did enormous damage to the quality, variety, and peoples' perception of beer in this country. Debates on the subject of the "evils" of the tied house resulted in the national tied house prohibition. The alcohol industry was conceptually divided into three tiers: the manufacturer (or supplier), the wholesaler and the retailer. No business was allowed to be involved with or own more than one of the tiers. Therefore, a brewery or wholesaler could not regulate who could sell their products. It is completely up to the retailer to stock what he saw fit. It was also legislated that the states retained the power to regulate the production, distribution and taxation of alcohol.

Oregon has been a great pioneer in making sensible laws about beer. In 1985 the manufacturer and retailer of beer was allowed to be the same entity, in the form of a brewpub. That's why I'm sitting here with a brewery in the back of the building and a number of hand pulls in the front. This makes sense. There are also no laws that restrict what we brew, or cultural and historical precedent that in effect prevents us from branching out. As a result, Oregon has such an amazing variety of beer styles. I just got this in an email from a new brewer up in Portland:
"I was telling some beery friends yesterday that Oregon is finally branching out, with you doing proper cask beers, Heater-Allen producing great lagers and myself in the near future specializing in farmhouse-style ales. An exciting time!"

Also, in 2003, a brewery that produced under 1000 BBL/year was permitted to self-distribute.
Because of its laws, and the unprecedented enthusiasm for beer, Oregon now has almost 100 breweries. Check out the Oregon Brewers Guild (oregonbeer.org). We also have some of the lowest duty in the country. Our national duty rate is $7/US BBL for small breweries, and the state tax, called the "privilege tax" for some reason, is only $2.60/US BBL. And Oregon has no sales tax. So whenever I brew my 2 UK barrels of warm flat beer, I pay $19.53 to the feds and $7.25 to the state.

And I can put on any guest beers and ciders that I want. I now have a cider, perry, strong IPA, amber, oktoberfest and a stout on the gas taps.

It surprises me that the duty on beer in the UK is so high. And, also, I can't understand why the tied house is allowed to live - the advantages escape me.

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