At 3pm today, the Senate Judiciary Committee has the Pint Bill on its agenda. Of course, it also has other things on the agenda. Quite a few things in fact: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/agendas/agns765.htm
The bill is somewhat down the list. It also comes after debate of a bill allowing big box liquor stores to own more than 3 stores, a bill dealing with carrying a concealed weapon, and a bill dealing with the ability of a mentally incapacitated person to legally carry a handgun. In other words, there are some pretty serious issues on the table for today’s committee meeting. With the Pint Bill so far down the list with plenty of hot issues before it, there is the chance that the bill does not get addressed during this committee meeting. However, that is not definite.
No public testimony is taken in the full committee. However, Senators may call people up to the podium to answer questions that they might have. Testimony came last time from several representatives of the South Carolina Brewers Association. And the bill passed the subcommittee by a 2-1 vote. The favorable recommendation now goes before the whole committee for review, debate, and hopefully, a vote.
The bill is expected to pass through the committee. While some debate is anticipated, there should not be any major changes to the bill. Some opposition was voiced at the subcommittee level, but the bill made it through without any substantive changes. The House version of the bill will also be taken up. Although, both bills have the exact same language and will be considered together.
Yesterday, the SCBA posted an update on their website asking for support for the bill before the committee. You can view that here: http://southcarolinabeer.org/blog/2013/04/call-support-s-423
If you haven’t already, there is still time for you to contact members of the committee. Here are the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and their respective emails:
If you need an idea of what to tell them, here’s an example:
SUBJECT: Please Support H. 3554 & S. 423
As a fellow South Carolinian, I urge you to VOTE FOR H. 3554 & S. 423. This bill will amend the existing law so as to allow South Carolina breweries to sell up to sixty-four (64) ounces a day for on-premises consumption to a consumer.
On a weekly basis, there are thousands of craft beer enthusiasts that attend tours and tastings at the breweries. Many of these patrons are coming from surrounding States, as well as many reported foreign visitors. This is true of all of the breweries in South Carolina. With Asheville, North Carolina being named “Beer City, USA” three years running, many such craft beer enthusiasts are making the short trip down to South Carolina. In addition, Charleston continues to get tourism accolades as one of the best cities in America for its blossoming beer culture.
H. 3554 & S. 423 helps level the playing field as our neighboring State to the North has much more expansive laws. This has not only led to their boom in new local Breweries (now totals over 74 such), but has just recently landed the State two $100 million plus investments by West Coast Breweries that are moving East – New Belgium, and Sierra Nevada, with Oskar Blues also investing millions recently in Brevard. Unfortunately, these companies would not even consider our State due to our current law. However, a change in the law would provide a tremendous incentive for popular western breweries that would like to expand their operations to the east coast. This is certainly evident in Virginia, where a similar bill was recently passed which was instrumental in Green Flash Brewing’s decision to build an east coast branch of their San Diego brewery in Virginia Beach. The brewery will employ 40 people and will produce 100,000 barrels of beer annually. In North Carolina, New Belgium has a planned annual brewing capacity of 400,000 barrels and will hire 50 workers with an expected growth of 20 new hires for the first five years of operation. Sierra Nevada plans to start capacity at 300,000 barrels and employ 90 people. Oskar Blues is doing 40,000 barrels annually and employs dozens. For reference, the biggest South Carolina brewery produces 10,000 barrels a year.
Craft beer contributes millions of dollars to our state every year, and passing this bill will only help our economy by easing regulations on small business and creating incentives for entrepreneurs to get into the industry. South Carolina craft brewers are the perfect embodiment of values held by so many: small, local, value-added, innovative, and community-minded small businesses that provide a place to gather responsibly.
This bill will equate to a massive increase in the number of jobs, wages, and tax revenues, with associated spin-off benefits like the increasing sale of agricultural products.
This is a great bill for small business and for South Carolina. Please support this bill. Thank you.
You can also watch today’s action or listen online at http://www.scstatehouse.gov/ and just follow the links on the right hand side of the page under Senate Meeting Schedule.
It’s a great time to contact your legislators. Use this tool to find them: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/legislatorssearch.php
If you need an explanation of the Pint Bill, then head here: https://beerofsc.com/2013/02/19/the-pint-bill-what-it-does-and-doesnt-do/
For the how-to pass the bill guide, head here: https://beerofsc.com/2013/02/20/passing-the-pint-bill-a-how-to-guide/