The text of the bill to raise the 10,000 barrel cap for on-premise sales at brewery tap rooms is now available. You’ll find the text of the bill, currently known as LC2093, at this link. (Or click on the bill itself below.) The bill will receive a new designation once it is introduced in the house of representatives. [1-28-15 UPDATE: The Bill is now known as HB 336.]
The bill provides an alternative to the Montana Tavern Association’s and Montana Brewers Associations’ “license stacking” bill, the text of which became available on Friday.
The bill is blissfully simple (in comparison to many). Under current Montana law a “small brewery” is allowed to sell up to 48 ounces of beer per person per day between the hours of 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. A “small brewery” is defined as one producing between 100 and 10,000 bbls per year. This bill would change the 10,000 barrel cap to 60,000 barrels. No brewery in Montana presently exceeds that amount.
Unlike the MTA/MBA bill, LC2093 would not limit the amount of beer which could be sold on-premise at the brewery. The MTA/MBA bill caps the amount at 500 bbl per year.
The bill would also clarify that the 60,000 barrels is calculated based on the production of all affiliated companies as well as amounts brewed for the brewery on a contract basis. This clarification would generally prevent, for example, AB-InBev from setting up a satellite location in Montana and calling it a “small brewery” for purposes of on-premise sales. It would also generally require multiple locations of the same brewery to combine production numbers for purposes of determining the effect of the new cap.*
Both bills are likely to be heard by the House of Representatives’ Business and Labor Committee at the same time. No hearing date has yet been set.
* I say “generally” because I’m not going to claim expertise in understanding and applying the definition of “affiliated companies” pursuant to 26 U.S.C. 1504(a).