Beer Distribution En Masse

The Beer Distributors of Massachusetts Inc. filed a bill giving breweries even more choice and flexibility in their relationships with distributors. The “Act to Promote Economic Development and Market Access for Emerging Businesses,” sponsored by Representative John J. Mahoney (D-Worcester), would allow privately owned and operated breweries that manufacture less than 30,000 barrels of beer (about 413,000 cases) per year to refuse to sell beer to any of their distributors at any time, for no reason at all.  According to the federal government, more than 96% of the breweries operating in the United States would stand to benefit from having this new flexibility and additional choice.    

“For six years, special interests have advocated an unreasonable position that would allow breweries accounting for up to 20% of a distributor’s established business to walk out for no reason. That approach would devastate Massachusetts’s independent distributors, and place over 2,000 jobs at serious risk,” said William A. Kelley, president of the Beer Distributors of Massachusetts, Inc. “This proposal is an equitable solution for Emerging Breweries.  It provides unprecedented opportunity for smaller breweries to develop and grow their businesses, while protecting the independent local distributors and the jobs they create from the economic leverage of larger multinational corporations.”  Under current Massachusetts law, if an emerging brewery wants to dissolve its relationship with a distributor after six months, it must have a good reason to do so.  Currently, breweries are also free to distribute their products themselves, or to choose to add as many additional distributors as the brewery pleases.  These options remain intact under the new proposal. Under this new proposal, any Emerging Brewery wishing to end its sales to a distributor would need only to reimburse the distributor for the distributor’s inventory, and the fair market value of the business being taken from the distributor. 

To see the full text of the bill, click here.

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