Nebraska prides itself on it’s business friendly atmosphere. It’s been the core of every single Governor’s talking points I can remember. If you examine the efforts made in the past three years, you’ll see considerable momentum to grow the Nebraska beer industry.Several industry groups and legislators worked together to pass LB1105 last year that deregulated certain aspects of the market that were impediments to Nebraska brewing growth. With those impediments removed, that’s exactly what happened as the industry exploded with new and highly respected brewers opening up across the state. Existing breweries opened new taprooms. They invested millions of dollars and created hundreds of jobs. This is the perfect example of a policy working.

Then came 2017, as the year is not shaping up to be craft-friendly at all. Our industry “partners” from the Associated Beverage Distributors of Nebraska (ABDN) have proposed legislative changes in LB632 that will severely limit craft beers’ ability to continue to grow in our state. It will kill jobs, investment and the momentum the industry has had since it’s upswing.

LB632 does many things but at it’s core it is anti-Nebraska Craft Beer. Provisions in it will not allow us or any other brewer to open any other locations that were granted to us in 2016 (up to five satellite locations for the brewery). The same provisions were agreed upon a year ago with ABDN, yet now they want to move the goal posts. This effort was also completed in secret without any input from the affected licensees and despite all our efforts to work collaboratively with our ABDN (associated beverage distributors of Nebraska) “partners”. Furthermore, this bill proposed a licensure freeze as of 1/1/17, which absolutely affects the expansion plans of two Nebraska craft brewers.

It’s an attack on Nebraska craft brewers plain and simple.

What can you do? Contact your State Senators and express your displeasure with this bill and offer your support of Nebraska Craft beer. Below are some suggestions to use when you contact your Senator (phone or email) and use the hashtag #DontKillOurCraft on your social media efforts.

— This bill is a job killer: It will curtail the expansion of the craft beer industry and impair our ability to invest in our communities, in agribusiness that supports our industry, and in manufacturing that supports our work.
— This bill was negotiated in secret without the input of industry partners and moved the goalposts established a year ago.
— This bill strips away existing rights that will likely lead to litigation against the state and impose a liability on the state coffers.

It makes me wonder personally what motivated the distribution industry in the first place? Perhaps it could be the Budweiser or Miller/Coors signs they have hanging on their warehouses? Not all of these folks are anti-craft, but many of them are and they’ve toeing the corporate line with the megaconglomerate they’re owned by. “Indepedently” owned they are not. They are anti-Nebraskan business and are actively working to curtail Nebraska craft brewers. Scratchtown and our fellow Nebraska craft brewers will not be intimidated. #Don’tKillOurCraft

Caleb Pollard
Scratchtown Brewing Company