Sunday, April 21

4th of July Weekend Welcomes New Freedoms for Arizona Microbreweries

Arizona’s growing craft beer industry had some newly won liberty to celebrate over the 4th of July weekend, as a law giving more latitude to small producers went into effect July 3.

SB1030, popularly known as the “Arizona Beer Bill,” was signed into law in April, after extensive campaigning by breweries, beer drinkers and small business supporters. It has two major provisions: First, it allows small breweries to increase production (up to 200,000 barrels a year) under a microbrewer license, and to operate up to seven retail shops. Second, it allows breweries to carry one another’s beers on tap.

That will essentially allow breweries to cross-promote and sell more beer, as well as offer more choices to Arizona’s beer aficionados.

Beer is the most popular alcoholic drink in the U.S., and it’s even more popular among younger drinkers getting involved in the craft beer scene; a study done in 2014 found that 48% of 18- to 34-year-olds name beer as their favorite alcoholic beverage, as opposed to 41% of adults in the general population.

“Breweries have become off-hours ‘water coolers’ of sorts in recent years — they’re where you go to connect with the community, talk shop with your friends and catch up on the last couple days,” Rob Fullmer, executive director of the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild, said in a statement, expressing gratitude to the beer lovers who helped spread word of the bill before it was passed. “We know, because this was one of the driving forces behind the success of this campaign. People were talking about it at our breweries and spreading word-of-mouth, and without that, we wouldn’t be where we are today — we feel like the sky’s the limit now when it comes to the growth and success of Arizona’s brew scene.”

Amanda Gibson, of Beast Brewing Co. in Bisbee, explained that the new law will also help taprooms to sustain themselves despite occasionally running out of their own beers (an unavoidable problem when producing on a relatively small scale). “With SB1030, we can not only support other local [Arizona] breweries that we love, but we can bridge some of the gaps we experience due to growing pains,” she told AZ Big Media.

Neal Brewer, head brewer and co-founder of Peoria Artisan Brewery, was similarly optimistic, saying the law represents the “continued growth and evolution of our craft beer culture in Arizona.”

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