Will West Virginia give a warmer regulatory welcome to the ever-growing craft beer industry in 2015? That’s what an interim WVU Senate committee – which includes WV Senators Bob Beach and Bob Williams – will explore in advance of the 2015 legislative session.
According to Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 81, craft beer “is a growth industry with positive public esteem and broad approval” and local breweries contribute “to the image and identity of the communities” in which they are produced. The resolution’s lofty language on market growth is backed by convincing data from the Brewer’s Association: in 2013, US craft beer sales increased over 17%, which is the opposite direction of overall beer sales. West Virginia, however, has seen slower growth in this market: the state sits at #43 on the list of breweries per capita and #48 on economic impact of craft beer per capita.
Determining how to stimulate additional craft beer production and sales within the state will be discussed later this year, when the committee meets monthly for three-day sessions beginning in September. The committee will study “fees, taxation and other regulatory provisions” that impede or promote the craft beer business in the state, with plans to report its findings – and perhaps provide new or revised legislation – during the 2015 regular session. In the meantime, WV craft beer fans should contact their local representatives. And don’t forget your consumer power: request more craft beers at your favorite establishments and support our growing number of local breweries!
Senator Bob Beach was kind enough to send me Resolution 81, but it is also available here: http://legiscan.com/WV/text/SCR81/2014