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SYLB Action Alert: California Trash & Trinkets Bill

The following action alert has been issued by the California Small Brewers Association through the Support Your Local Brewery consumer beer activist network, in the hopes of generating grassroots support from beer lovers in California. Please help if you can.

Dear Beer Activist,

The craft brewers of California need your help!

A bill sponsored by Anheuser-Busch, AB 1245 (Torrico) is being heard in committee this Tuesday, June 24th. This bill would significantly expand the limits on what a brewer can give away to a retailer. Currently, a brewer can only give away small items of minimal value to a retailer or consumer. The law in place now helps create an equal playing field for both small and large breweries. This law has helped the craft brewing industry flourish in California.

Anheuser-Busch wants to increase the limit 1,600% so they can use give-ways as an inducement to gain placements at stores, bars and restaurants. Craft brewers – because we are small, independent businesses which brew with passion and typically do not have large marketing budgets – cannot afford to compete with the big brewers on this level. Passing this bill will allow large corporate brewers to “buy” placements at craft beers expense.

You may thinking to yourself, but don’t I want breweries to give me free stuff? That’s a reasonable initial reaction, but think about it this way. Most of the craft breweries that make the beer you love can’t afford to give away anything and that hasn’t stopped you from buying their beer. You prefer their beer because it tastes good. You didn’t need a free keychain or some other bauble to convince you that their beer is good. So it begs the question, what sort of beer company does need to give away free crap, in effect buying market share instead of earning it? It’s probably the sort of beer that you don’t want to drink in the first place. But by allowing this bill to pass, those beer companies will be able to buy more and more customer loyalty, and that will be mean less and less good beer for you and your friends. So while it may seem counter-intuitive to tell your Senator not to allow you to potentially receive more free stuff, it’s that fact which will make your message that much more powerful. Tell your elected representative that you’d rather support and buy beer from small, local craft beer companies that make the beer you love, than be given free crap by companies whose products are in many cases not made locally and do not support California’s economy or small business community.

The action alert continues:

The craft brewers of California will be at a distinct disadvantage if this bill passes, therefore limiting the choice and availability of craft beers in the marketplace.

There are five Senators who have indicated they haven’t made up their minds and could end up voting against our local breweries. They are:

  • Senator Wiggins (Mendocino, Humboldt parts of Sonoma County)
  • Senator Harman (Huntington Beach area)
  • Senator Denham (Central valley Modesto area)
  • Senator Yee (parts of San Francisco County)
  • Senator Wyland (parts of San Diego County)

If you are in one of these areas, we need your help. Please read on. If you are not sure who your Senator is, you can easily and quickly find out here.

If you are in the district of one of the five Senators above, please write a letter to fax or email; or call your Senators office no later than Monday, June 23rd.

Let your Senator know that you are opposed to AB 1245 and that this bill is anti-small business and against the best interests of the craft brewers in California.

  • Senator Wiggins phone 916.651.4002 / fax 916.323.6958 / e-mail
  • Senator Harman phone 916.651.4035 / fax 916.445.9263 / email
  • Senator Denhamphone 916.651.4012 / fax 916.445.0773 / email
  • Senator Yee phone 916.651.4008 / fax 916.327.2186 / email
  • Senator Wyland phone 916.651.4038 / fax 916.446.7382 / email

Thanks for supporting your local brewery!

The California Small Brewers Association

Send questions to Tom McCormick.


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