State regulators, brewers, vintners and distillers benefit from clear and precise laws detailing functions and rights like contract brewing and custom crush arrangements.
Idaho recently took a step that other brewers looking for clarifying legislation may find helpful in crafting their own state statutes.
The state defined contract brewing through providing definitions of the two parties to such an arrangement:
(d) “Contractee brewer” means a brewer producing fewer than thirty thousand (30,000) barrels of beer in aggregate annually, including any beer manufactured outside the state of Idaho, that enters into a contractual relationship with another brewer to produce beer on the contractee’s behalf.
(e) “Contractor brewer” means a brewer producing fewer than thirty thousand (30,000) barrels of beer in aggregate annually, including any beer manufactured outside the state of Idaho, that enters into a contractual relationship with a contractee brewer to produce beer for the contractee brewer on the contractor brewer’s licensed premises.
This is a start to a decent law, but the cap on size for the contractor is a bit short-sighted. The definition doesn’t seem to allow for a contracting facility that would, in the aggregate potentially be able to produce much more beer than 30,000 barrels which could function as a contracting facility for multiple breweries. What if an enterprising Idahoan decided to build a much larger system expecting to just contract brew for others?
There’s an interesting story from prohibition and the introduction of the Volstead act where there was a time that wineries and breweries were not supporting each other in definitions of prohibited alcohol on an ABV basis as both appeared to want to scuttle the other’s businesses. In the end both lost out and more alcohol was prohibited than potentially would have been had they worked together. Perhaps a lesson when smaller players pass laws that don’t benefit the entire category of licensees or perhaps a lesson that it would be harder to get something passed if larger players were involved.