"Unfortunately, powerful special interests occasionally seem like too much to overcome. This time itâ€™s Anheuser-Busch and their distribution network in Alabama. It has become increasingly clear to us that they have been working hard to defeat our bills over the last few weeks.
This all started when Doug Bailey, a high-powered lobbyist with Anheuser-Busch, came to Alabama and started drumming up opposition to our Brewery Modernization Act. The Alabama Wholesale Beer Association is not opposed to this bill, but Mr. Bailey was successful in convincing many Anheuser-Busch wholesalers in this state to work against us.
We were offered a proposed compromise. We counter-offered, they counter-offered, and in the end we actually liked what was proposed - we were ready to accept it if they were ready to support it.
Then they reneged. The compromise was no longer acceptable, and they offered another compromise. This went on for some time, and each time the ball on the Brewery Modernization Act was moved farther away from what was acceptable. Their latest proposed language, given to us this week, was nothing short of an abomination.
If that whole ordeal seems like a stalling tactic designed to waste our time, wellâ€¦ I can see where one would reach that conclusion. Weâ€™re no longer playing their game.
Anheuser Busch and their individual distributors have every right to work the legislature against the Brewery Modernization Act. They can be opposed to a jobs-creating, economic development bill that would benefit local business. They can oppose craft beer and Free the Hops. But the craft beer community and Free the Hops can oppose them too.
Anheuser-Busch products and products from their distribution network are now banned from Free the Hops events. This will have its first big effect on the Rocket City Brewfest and will continue with the Magic City Brewfest unless the Brewery Modernization Act becomes law in a form we find acceptable.
We also call on our members and supporters to boycott these products. Here is a list of which products are carried by these opponents to craft beer.
This ban and boycott will be in effect until the Brewery Modernization Act becomes law in a form we find acceptable. The ball is in their court."http://www.freethehops.org/blog/2011/04/breaking-free-the-hops-boycotts-anheuser-busch-and-their-distributors-in-alabama/
"The Board of Directors of Free the Hops has voted to ban all products from Anheuser-Busch and their local distributors from Free the Hops events until further notice. This is a direct response to their efforts against our bills. The aims of the Brewery Modernization Act are to provide a friendlier environment for the brewing industry in Alabama and to remove the crippling restrictions which prevent new breweries and brewpubs from opening. The Gourmet Bottle Bill would legalize 22 oz. and 750 mL bottles of beer in Alabama. Some of the best beer in the world is available only in these container sizes and Alabama is the only state in the country with this restriction.
The vote for the boycott was unanimous, with one board member recused from any discussion or vote due to conflict of interest."
As a FTH member, I'm a little divided. It seems like a great way to send a message, but many craft breweries being distributed here by A-B are being caught in the middle. Some of these breweries were here as soon as they could after the Gourmet Beer Bill passed in 2009. I'm talking Tommyknocker, Great Divide, Avery, Boulder, Gordon Biersch...http://www.freethehops.org/blog/2011/04/correcting-misinformation/
"We are not boycotting Back 40, Great Divide, Avery, or any other craft brewery. We are boycotting a group of distributors that are working against the interests of craft beer. In fact, they are working against the interests of these breweries.
Unfortunately, this group of distributors carry these breweries in Alabama, so they are getting caught in the crossfire. We hate that, and it was not an easy decision. It was first brought up several weeks ago â€“ no one should have been surprised by our decision today. Not the breweries, not the distributors. We only pulled the lever on this when it became clear that these distributors were either intentionally stalling us or, at best, that they were not willing to compromise on some fundamental issues with regard to the Brewery Modernization Act."
I know this isn't a homebrew issue (HB266, the Homebrewing Legalization Bill, will supposedly be brought back up in the AL House of Representatives on Tuesday), but I was wonder what everyone's take on this is.