With House Bill 1217, state lawmakers are looking to increase regulation on Colorado's craft beer industry. According to Ed Sealover with the Denver Business Journal, a new taproom has opened every week in the state for the past two years, a trend that corresponds to the explosion in consumer demand for craft beer and the brewers who produce it.
To be specific, the bill would not require breweries to gather signatures of support from neighborhood residents prior to opening, as Sealover explains it, and it does not give the powers-that-be in local licensing the actual authority to approve or deny state-granted licenses.
But it does allow the local licensing authority to comment on whether or not the license should be granted.
Local Licensing Authority May Support or Oppose the License
To establish a taproom, a brewery must apply for a state license, which is nothing new. But, as Sealover reports, the bill would require breweries to notify the local licensing authority about the application. Licensing would then have 30 days to submit its comments in support of, or in opposition to, the brewer's application. The state must then consider the licensing authority's comments in its decision to approve or deny.
Does the Taproom 'Fit Into' the Neighborhood? Should It Matter?
The local licensing authority is to address this question: Does the brewery's proposed taproom "fit into" the neighborhood? But this only leads to more questions. What if a license is denied because of negative comments? What recourse would be available to the brewer? And why should lawmakers want to muddy the waters of the craft beer market anyhow? After all, from the brewer's perspective, the taproom "fits into" the neighborhood; otherwise, they would not be filing a license application.
Assisting Craft Beer Brewers (And Other Clients) in State Licensing
At Ciancio Ciancio Brown, P.C., we represent brewers (as well as retail liquor stores, bars, restaurants, and hotels) in all aspects of state licensing issues involving alcohol and beer. For more information, please visit our page on alcohol licensing.