Monday, February 16, 2009

Brewers under fire in Oregon (of all places)

News out of Portland is that some dumbass politicians want to raise Oregon's excise tax on beer by 1,900% (not a typo). Finally, an answer to all of America's economic problems!

I wish I could say that I'm surprised, but I'm not. With all of the indiscriminate taxation against tobacco that has gone on over the years, I guess it was only a matter of time before someone shifted their bullseye onto our favorite beverage. Plus, this is really just grandstanding, isn't it? The excise tax probably won't be raised to the proposed amount. This is more than likely just some headline grabbing in order to highlight that Oregon's excise tax is much lower than other states, and to gather support to raise it to a level in line with other states.

But I am surprised that this is happening in Oregon, a state that has helped put craft beer on the map. Frankly, I have an easier time imagining something like this happening in a back asswards state like New Jersey than somewhere that they've supported the scene as long as they have in Oregon. And it does bother me when legislation like this has such a big impact on small businesses. It's easy to turn a blind eye when giant corporations that have been conspiring to slowly kill people for decades (i.e. big tobacco) get taxed left and right. And easier when their product isn't your vice. But this kind of thing is really going to hit home with brewpubs and small breweries - the kinds of businesses that local government should really be encouraging people to support.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

President Obama is "Always Good For A Beer"

Politics aside, you have to love that The President Of The United States Of America says something like this (0:36):

And is photographed on the campaign trail at a brewpub doing this:

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Crappy NJ Brewery Regulations

Great post over at Beer Stained Letter about the state of regulatory affairs in the New Jersey craft brewing scene. Read Jeff's post for the full scoop, but here's the quick and dirty:

The state of New Jersey makes things way harder on craft brewers than it is in other states. Production micros can only sell a customer a max of two six-packs or two-growlers per visit. Brewpubs can only sell on premises in their restaurant - they can't distribute kegs to other bars or packaged beer to liquor stores. The state forces a craft brewery to be either strictly production and distribution or on premises consumption. Why? Why wouldn't the state want these small businesses to be able to expand their revenue streams, get their names out there, and flourish?

And we wonder why New Jersey is so far behind the craft brewing curve. Maybe if an NJ brewpub could package and distribute throughout the state and in neighboring states they could make a bigger name for themselves. Maybe if a production brewery could make more money for themselves and for the state by selling more beer on premises they'd be able to grow their business a little more. Let's hope that enough people in the state start caring about this and can eventually affect some change in the antiquated legislation.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Kitchen condensation

Here's one that I posted to the Norther Brewer forum. Any clues, please chime in below...

"The kitchen stove that I brew on, unfortunately, does not vent to the outdoors. The problem that I have is that condensation really builds up big time in the house during the boil. There are some spots in the house (downstream from the kitchen) where condensation will build up at the ceiling and then drip down the wall, creating some annoying streaks. Does anybody have experience with this problem and have any advice on what I can do to avoid it? We rent, and putting in a vent through the wall is not an option."