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Yazoo, Calfkiller collaboration brew, “The Beacon,” shines light on Tenn.’s high beer taxes

November 30, 2012 By: mike Category: Breweries, Craft beer, Events, Government

The BeaconTennessee’s highest-in-the-nation beer taxes, including the state’s 17% beer wholesale tax, have inspired a new beer.

Yazoo Brewing Company and Calfkiller Brewing Company are shining a light on Tennessee’s beer taxes with a new collaboration brew, The Beacon, which will be available to taste for the first time Saturday at the sold-out 12 South Winter Warmer beer festival in Nashville.

The Beacon is an unfiltered beer brewed with some German oak smoked wheat malt, Tennessee honey and some in-house Calfkiller-roasted coffee. A seven-barrel batch of the beer was brewed in Sparta, Tenn., earlier this month.

Here’s more about the collaboration beer from Yazoo’s Linus Hall:

One thing we definitely have in common is our drive to change Tennessee’s beer taxes, which unfairly tax craft brewers at a higher per-gallon rate than beers from the big brewers, and which have risen every year since 1954, to where TN’s beer taxes are the highest in the country. So… we decided to put our frustrations into liquid form. Introducing… THE BEACON! Shining a light on a STYLE OF BEER UNIQUE TO TENNESSEE! THE “TENNESSEE HIGH TAX ALE” STYLE! Yes, only Tennessee can lay claim to this unique style of beer, where the taxes are raised to an almost unbelievable level of $37.00 per barrel. Other areas of the country can claim unique styles of beer, but only in TN are beer taxes taken to this level. We should be so proud!” [source]

If you aren’t going to the 12 South Winter Warmer, Hall says there will be keg tappings of the beer across Tennessee in the weeks to come. Plus, a second batch of the beer will be brewed at Yazoo and bottled in 750 ml bottles “for distribution wherever the light needs to shine in Tennessee.”

Hall is president of the board of directors for the newly-formed Tennessee Craft Brewers Guild, which is working to help change the beer laws in the Volunteer State.

More details about the Craft Brewers Guild’s efforts are expected to be announced soon. Stay tuned.

City Council approves law allowing beer tastings in Memphis grocery stores

November 21, 2012 By: mike Category: Craft beer, Government, Memphis

You’ll soon be able to sip on a sample of craft beer in the aisles of Memphis grocery stores, thanks to a law passed on Tuesday.

Exactly how the law will be implemented remains to be seen.Winter Warmer taster

The Memphis City Council unanimously approved an ordinance that allows for limited beer tastings at grocery stores and other retailers with city-issued licenses to sell beer for off-premise consumption. The tastings will be allowed for “promotional and educational purposes.”

“This is a just an ordinance that allows the growing industry of microbrews and people to enjoy a tasting and sample a product. It’s based on a law that is in effect in Nashville … and I think it goes to the public good,” said councilman Shea Flinn, sponsor of the ordinance.

New language added to the law in response to concerns about a lack of specifics calls for the Memphis Alcohol Commission to “promulgate rules for conducting beer tastings.”

“It’s just making sure that we weren’t opening a loophole that would allow for convenience stores … to become ‘beer halls,’ for lack of a better word,” Flinn said. “We think we’ve got the appropriate safeguards and we think we have the appropriate flexibility, giving the Alcohol Commission the ability to create rules for this effect to deal with any issues that might present themselves, although they’re not expected.”

The proposal was sparked after a local Whole Foods store could not host a Yazoo Brewing Company beer tasting. It follows other recent changes in local beer laws, including the elimination of the requirement to sell food at breweries with tasting rooms as well as zoning changes that make it easier to open a brewery in the Memphis area.

Memphis beer tasting ordinance

Memphis City Council set to vote today on ordinance to allow beer tastings at grocery stores

November 20, 2012 By: mike Category: Craft beer, Government, Memphis

beer sampleA proposed law that would allow limited beer tastings at Memphis grocery stores is up for a final vote today by the City Council.

The proposal, which is an ordinance that will be heard on third and final reading, would allow on-site beer tastings at grocery stores and other retailers with city-issued licenses to sell beer for off-premise consumption. The tastings would be allowed for “promotional and educational purposes.”

We first mentioned this proposal back in September when it was endorsed by a council committee. Since then, the ordinance has been delayed amid concerns over its lack of specifics, according to a story in the Memphis Flyer.

According to Rich Foge, president of the Tennessee Malt Beverage Association, the ordinance lacked clear rules and regulations about which licensed stores could hold beer tastings, when and how often tastings could be held, and what size samples could be distributed. [source]

The latest version of the ordinance, which you can read below, calls for the Memphis Alcohol Commission to “promulgate rules for conducting beer tastings.”

The proposal was sparked after a local Whole Foods store could not host a Yazoo Brewing Company beer tasting. Yazoo’s Ivan Chester tweeted his support for the measure last week.

Memphis City Councilman Shea Flinn is sponsoring the proposal.

The state legislature recently passed a law allowing Tennessee liquor stores to hold tastings, and “Memphis retailers selling beer for off-­premise consumption should enjoy the same privilege,” Flinn’s proposal says.

It also notes that “craft, locally manufactured, and specialty beers have become extremely popular and sales of these products take over a larger share of the market each year; holders of licenses to sell beer for off-premise consumption would like to be able to conduct product tastings in their stores, providing free, small samples of products sold to customers for promotional and educational purposes, which is not permitted under the current Code of Ordinances.”

If approved, the measure would follow other recent changes in local beer laws, including the elimination of the requirement to sell food at breweries with tasting rooms as well as zoning changes that make it easier to open a brewery in the Memphis area.

The City Council meets today at 3:30 p.m., in the council chambers of City Hall, 125 N. Main.

Proposed Memphis beer tasting ordinance

Ordinance would allow beer tastings at Memphis grocery stores

September 06, 2012 By: mike Category: Craft beer, Government, Memphis

Cool Springs Brewery-sampler

Memphis grocery stores would be allowed to host free beer tastings under a proposed ordinance being considered by the Memphis City Council.

The proposal, endorsed this week by a committee, would allow on-site beer tastings at grocery stores and other retailers with city-issued licenses to sell beer for off-premise consumption. The tastings would be allowed for “sales, education and promotional purposes.”

The proposal was sparked after a local Whole Foods store could not host a Yazoo Brewing Company beer tasting, according to council officials.

Memphis City Councilman Shea Flinn is sponsoring the measure.

The state legislature recently passed a law allowing Tennessee liquor stores to hold tastings, and “Memphis retailers selling beer for off-­premise consumption should enjoy the same privilege,” Flinn’s proposal says.

It also notes that “craft, locally manufactured, and specialty beers have become extremely popular and sales of these products take over a larger share of the market each year; holders of licenses to sell beer for off-premise consumption would like to be able to conduct product tastings in their stores, providing free, small samples of products sold to customers for promotional and educational purposes, which is not permitted under the current Code of Ordinances.”

The ordinance must be approved on three readings, with the first set for Sept. 18. The final vote could happen as soon as Oct. 16.

This measure follows other changes in local beer laws, including the elimination of the requirement to sell food at breweries with tasting rooms as well as zoning changes that make it easier to open a brewery in the Memphis area.

Proposed Memphis beer tasting ordinance