We hope to change certain portions of the current state beer laws in order to encourage breweries to enter the West Virginia market and to promote craft beer culture. The way the rules and regulations are set up right now is stifling business. The excessive fees and regulations scare away potential breweries from entering the WV market and it makes it difficult for resident homebrewers to start their own breweries. Additionally, certain regulations are even hurting small West Virginia businesses due to a lack of diverse product, high fees, needless red tape, and etc. Implementing sensible regulations on beer could help improve the beer industry and business, which also improves WV through money generated by taxes, tourism, and etc.
Some of the regulations and laws that we would like to see changed are as followed:
1. Reduce fees: Under the current rules, breweries must pay for a $1,500 annual license. Most states only ask for a nominal fee. As an example, Virginia's annual license fee is only $95.
2. Change licensing structure: Allow for all businesses that sell beer to have both on-site and off-site consumption permissions.
Additionally, create a multi-tiered licensing and fee system for breweries based on production.
3. Allow for growler sales with all beer license types and not just brewpubs.
4. Streamline license application process: The current process is complicated and daunting for those who are not familiar with it. The state does not make it easy for anybody who wants to enter our market.
5. Equitable treatment of regulations between wine and beer: As of right now, the regulations on wine are far more relaxed than those on beer. For instance, wine tastings can be held at retail locations and wineries. Wine can also be sold directly to consumers at fairs and festivals. The beer industry does not have the same priveleges and should be treated in a more equitable manner with wine.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it should be a great start to changing laws that are incredibly outdated. Something needs to be done to encourage business in WV!
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