Pierre brewery looking forward to expansion under new law

April 2, 2018

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota’s microbreweries will get the chance to tap into more customers in the coming months thanks to a new law signed on March 22 by Gov. Dennis Daugaard.

The Pierre Capital Journal reports that the Republican governor said last week the new law is an “economic development win” that will help the state’s homegrown microbreweries expand and thrive. Daugaard had pushed for the brewing overhaul, contending state regulations were stifling the industry.

That was true for Pierre’s own Bill of Right Brewery. Though, owner Brian Trimble said, not because he wanted to get his beer to thirsty South Dakotans without going through a third-party distributor. In fact, he can’t do that. He doesn’t have the infrastructure to ship enough beer to, say, Rapid City to make the venture profitable.

“None of us have any reason to totally cut out the distributors,” Trimble said.

The limiting factor for Trimble has been that until the new rules were made law, he couldn’t so much as leave his brewery in possession of his own beer. He had to work with a distributor to schlep a keg of his beer across town to a tasting event or festival. The same was true for out of town events. That could get expensive, Trimble said.

Trimble said just being able to take his beer to festivals or other tasting events could be a boon.

“It’s going to make it a whole lot easier to expand,” he said. “It’s going to be great to be able to expose South Dakota craft beers to people.”

The legislation creates a microbrewery license allowing the businesses to produce 30,000 barrels of beer annually, up from 5,000 barrels. Breweries that exceed the current 5,000-barrel limit would lose privileges such as being able to sell growlers.

It also permits craft brewers to bypass distributors to sell up to 1,500 barrels of their beer each year directly to bars.

Trimble said he was excited at the prospect of being able to collaborate with bars and other breweries on events such as tap takeovers, in which a brewery takes over the taps at a bar to give people a chance to try new beers. Trimble also has designed a beer he hopes to sell at Pierre Trappers baseball games.

Being able to make six times more beer in a year and sell some beer independently of distributors, likely will benefit South Dakota’s larger craft brewers more, Trimble said. Still, the extra freedom probably will lead to more independent brewers popping up in the state, Trimble said.

“We’re excited for (the new law) to take effect,” Trimble said.


Information from: Pierre Capital Journal, http://www.capjournal.com

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