beer

  • The Virginia Beer Wholesalers Association has donated nearly $5 million dollars to various political candidates and committees on both sides so the aisle since 1996.  The reason - to make sure they get to keep doing their thing, which is selling and distributing beer and liquor wholesale in Virginia. This plays quite well into the interests of the Global Beer Industrial Complex.

    For those who don’t know, here’s how beer gets from the brewer to your mouth in most US states.  Brewers brew beer but are not allowed to sell it directly to drinkers. Instead, they are required to sell it to licensed Wholesalers or Distributors who are also not allowed to sell directly to the consumer but are only allowed to sell it to bars and liquor stores.  Bars and liquor stores, or grocery stores or other licensed retail outlets. These places are allowed to sell to you the drinker. Additionally, the retail outlets are not allowed to buy directly from the breweries in most cases. This odd middleman arrangement came about at the end of Prohibition when the states were allowed to set their own rules and regulations with respect to selling liquor.  Each state is a little different and some are very different (Utah has state-owned liquor stores) but this is generally the way it works in most states.

    This kind of arrangement allows the state to license, regulate, and tax 3 different entities (brewers, distributors, and retail establishments) which prevents monopolies and tax fraud.  Before Prohibition, many brewers delivered straight to bars that they also owned. Bars that sold only the one brand. It was much easier for such arrangements to fudge the numbers when it came time to pay taxes and some of them certainly did.

    Today, the states usually require each taxable entity to report the volume of sales as well as purchases and compare them against each other to make sure all the beer brewed gets taxed several times before you get to drink it. An arrangement that virtually eliminates tax fraud.  It also created a hugely profitable sector of the Beer Industrial Complex. The Distributor/Wholesaler. These companies make tons of money and want to continue to that, so they donate generously to any political cause that can help them. It was like pulling teeth in many states to change the laws so that micro-breweries could also benefit from distribution and sell their products at brewpubs and Taprooms.

    Here’s anexcellent article that shows how the Virginia Beer Wholesalers Association has influenced politics (and your beer) over the last few decades.

  • Government shutdown

    With the government shut down for a couple weeks now you are probably wondering what impact this will have on beer.

    Obviously, this will affect all the hard-working government employees, who, without paychecks, will not be able to afford as much beer as usual.  This really sucks for them because they not only have a lot of extra time on their hands, but they could all use a nice cold beer right about now.

    The other impacts are more insidious.  Firstly, new breweries are unable to get the required licenses from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), which regulates the alcohol beverage industry, as this agency is currently shut down.  That means the new brewpub being built down the street may be unable to brew.  That means they may not even be able to open, which results in no new jobs, and possibly the loss of a few.  Even after the shutdown ends (assuming it does) there's likely to be a backlog of license requests that may take months to clear up.

    Secondly, the same government entity also approves new brews for existing breweries, so if the shutdown drags on, you can forget about seeing hip new seasonal brews in your local store.

    It's entirely likely that the Global Beer Industrial Complex has orchestrated this shutdown just to prevent new competition and possibly thin out their existing enemies (small breweries).  Just ask the Beer Overlords (if you can find them) They will certainly deny any involvement, which is a dead giveaway that they are behind it..