Distributors and Brewers Weigh in on Craft Beer Bill

SIOUX FALLS, SD – A proposed craft beer bill making its way through the South Dakota legislature would loosen state regulations on micro-breweries.They could make more beer and sell and deliver it right to stores, bars and restaurants.

Some distributors are worried about how this will affect them. At Beal Distributing they are busy working. they have 87 people on staff and deliver beer all around south dakota.

“We hit everything down from Beresford all the way up to Brookings, all the way out to Alexandria. We have six full counties that we hit,” said Ed Beal.

If state lawmakers approve Senate Bill 169 breweries would be able to distribute their own beer, something Beal doesn’t think is the best idea.

“Why try to fix something that’s already working,” said Beal.

Bill opponents say some breweries, especially smaller ones, may not realize what all goes into distributing. They’re concerned that without the manpower, experience and resources of a distributor, it could be hard for breweries to maintain quality.

“We keep up the standards out there. we rotate our product, we do inventory, we do rotation, we talk to the owners we put up the specials.”

Over at Remedy Brewing, Co-founder Tyler Jepperson says this bill is needed to allow the brewery scene in South Dakota to grow. He says it’s worked well in other states.

“Some states are entirely self distribution any way and again a lot of these laws are because the industries still so new to South Dakota and as we grow we’re finding well what does this mean,” said Jepperson.

He knows the value of distributors and uses one himself, but thinks breweries should have a choice.

“But when I think about 169 is I think it allows businesses to self determine how they want to grow in the brewing industry.”

The proposed legislation would make it easier for breweries to distribute to places close in town. They wouldn’t have to wait as they’d be able to do it themselves, but breweries could also use distributors to stretch their beer sales farther around South Dakota.

Another proposal, Senate Bill 173 is also circulating to increase the amount of beer a brewery can make, but it would not give them full distribution rights.

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