Ohio Brewery News
Ohio Craft Brewers Association Launches Brewers Freedom Alliance
Advocating to free Ohio craft brewers from unfair policies handcuffing their businesses
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Today, the Ohio Craft Brewers Association officially announced the launch of their new advocacy campaign: Brewers Freedom Alliance. This alliance includes more than 300 craft brewers and their supporters from across Ohio. For nearly 50 years, franchise laws surrounding the brewing industry have been left untouched, allowing them to become outdated and hampering the booming Ohio craft beer industry. Now, Brewers Freedom Alliance is fighting to modernize those laws, allowing small business owners to thrive in the state of Ohio.
A lot has changed since 1974, especially the Ohio craft brewing industry. Ohio is home to more than 400 small, independently owned craft breweries today. These small business owners are forced to comply with the Ohio Alcoholic Beverages Franchise Act of 1974, legislation that was built to check the power of large corporations but now is used to lock small brewers into unfair, unbreakable contracts with wholesalers (the businesses that deliver Ohio craft beers to market). This allows wholesalers to take advantage of small brewers they have trapped in a contract and can prevent consumer access to the newest, freshest and best local product.
Beginning this month, Brewers Freedom Alliance will advocate for lawmakers to make small craft brewers exempt from the 1974 franchise law; wholesalers and small brewers should be free to negotiate and agree to fair contracts that benefit both industries instead of defaulting to an antiquated law that shackles small and growing Ohio businesses. Common sense reform will leave the original franchise law to act as it was initially intended: to keep large corporations from taking advantage of small businesses.
“Under current Ohio law craft brewers have no negotiating power, no recourse and no way out of these unfair contracts,” says Mary MacDonald, executive director of the Ohio Craft Brewers Association. “We want Ohio to be a place where small business owners see opportunity, but a law enacted before the craft brewing industry existed is stifling our brewers’ growth and potential.”
“Changing this law isn’t just about helping me as a business owner, but ensuring that Ohio’s craft beer drinkers have the chance to enjoy everything our industry has to offer,” said Alan Szuter, Owner of Wolf’s Ridge Brewing.
Modernization of the current, antiquated franchise law would not only give craft brewers the ability to make decisions for their own businesses, but it would result in greater access to higher quality products for consumers. Brewers Freedom Alliance is hopeful that, through education of lawmakers, consumers and all Ohioans, it will become obvious that policy changes are needed and needed now.
To learn more or to join the Brewers Freedom Alliance, visit: ohiocraftbeer.org/brewersfreedomalliance