On March 30, 2014, the New York Times published an Op-Ed entitled “Free Craft Beer.” Credited to Steve Hindy, president and co-founder of the Brooklyn Brewery, it reflected the Brewers Association’s view that so-called “beer franchise laws” that exist in many states are in need of reform.
The “Free Craft Beer” Op-Ed was a statement on behalf of American small and independent brewery members of all sizes, but is especially relevant for the Brewers Association’s smallest members, some of whom have brands hopelessly locked into exclusive beer distribution arrangements from which they want to extricate themselves, but cannot practically do so.
This not only has an impact on small brewers, but also has a direct impact on beer drinker’s access to craft beer.
The singular intent of the Brewers Association’s public statement is to highlight a need for beer franchise law reform in many states. Certain people in the beer industry and the beer media have mischaracterized this singular and reasonable concern as an attack on beer distributors and all franchise laws, and as an effort to destroy the three-tier system. These charges couldn’t be further from the truth.