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State Capitol

Bill Expanding Microbrew Nears Approval


A bill raising the cap on how much package beer can be bought from Kentucky microbreweries is nearing final passage from the state legislature. Capitol reporter Ryland Barton has more.               

The bill would allow customers to take home up to 31 gallons of beer from microbreweries— that’s the equivalent of two kegs. Currently the limit is two dozen 12-ounce beers, or, a little over two gallons. 
Adam Watson, co-owner of Against the Grain Brewery in Louisville, says the measure would help boost sales out of his brewery and beyond. 

“We want to sell our beer in as many locations as possible. There’s over 6,700 retail locations in Kentucky. I can guarantee I will sell my beer better in those 6,700 locations than hoarding it all under one roof and trying to sell it all out of mine.” 

The original version of the bill would have totally eliminated the cap for how much package beer microbreweries can sell on site—but was scaled back after pushback from distributors and retailers, who said brewers shouldn’t be allowed to “skip” the other tiers.  

Sen. Damon Thayer, a Republican from Georgetown, accused retailers and distributors of “trying to gang up” on microbrewers. 

“For some reason, some in the industry decided to be paternalistic to show that they could keep the craft-brew guys, quote-unquote, under their thumb. This is despicable.” 

Ryland is the state capitol reporter for Kentucky Public Radio. He's covered politics and state government for NPR member stations KWBU in Waco and KUT in Austin. Always looking to put a face to big issues,Ryland'sreporting has taken him to drought-weary towns in West Texas and relocated communities in rural China. He's covered breaking news like the 2014 shooting at Fort Hood Army Base and the aftermath of the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas.
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