​Colorado Guild ​Eyes Future Craft Rebound with New Laws

With four new bills passing through the Colorado legislative session recently, some new laws will be immediate help to Colorado craft breweries while others will help in the future.

Shawnee Adelson, Executive Director of the Colorado Brewers Guild, shared with Brewer recently her thoughts on changes to festival permits, event incentives and a temporary retention of state sales tax that will support the state’s breweries. Also, a four-year continuance for takeout and delivery options were added to further boost business.

​BREWER: How do you feel these switches will help lift the businesses of state breweries to have more flexibility to operate and grow? Which one do you feel is going to be the most important immediately?
ADELSON: ​All of these bills have the potential to help breweries recover from the pandemic. However, the impacts are all different. For example, the sales tax retention will give them immediate financial benefit, but has a short​-​term effect. While the festival permit is permanent and will have a longer term impact on brewery operations and options for events. We have already begun hearing about how breweries are looking forward to using the permit in future years.

​BREWER: What sort of recognition for the need to make these changes does it take to get these changes noticed and started on … and how much legwork has the guild had to do to make this happen? What key pieces are needed and support from legislators are needed to get the ball rolling in the right direction?
ADELSON: Advocating for our members at the state capitol is one of the primary functions of the Colorado Brewers Guild. We are constantly soliciting feedback from our membership and providing that feedback to legislators. Sometimes these changes take years. For example, the festival bill took three years of us working with members, stakeholders, and legislators to get it passed. On the other hand, some bills are a reaction to an immediate need, like the sales tax retention which was passed to help businesses recover from the pandemic.

​BREWER: A lot of state guilds look up to what Colorado and other more “craft-centric” states have been able to do. How do you feel what you do as a state guild helps get other states seeing how changes can be made and what important points can help alter laws to be more craft beer friendly?
ADELSON: We like to call ourselves “The State of Craft Beer” and that’s partly attributed to the favorable brewing laws in Colorado. It is important for us to continue to protect those laws and continue to push to help keep our industry competitive. The craft brewing industry in Colorado has an almost $3.5 billion economic impact and it is first in the country for economic impact per capita. These statistics show that having an environment that is favorable to craft breweries can have a larger impact on the state’s economy. We are in regular contact with other state guilds and we are all continually learning from each other to better support the craft beer industry.

Photo courtesy Brewtography Project

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