Brewing bills move past House, head to the Kansas Senate

Capitol Bureau

Legislation at the Capitol would allow microbreweries to expand the reach of their product without having to expand their actual brewery.

At Norsemen Brewing Company in north Topeka, co-owner Jared Rudy explained how the craft brewing businesses are growing.

“You have to be able to entice new people to craft beer and we get them without lagers typically,” Rudy said.

With 13 beers on tap, Norsemen has added more equipment to keep up with their growth.

“We did buy some more Brite Tanks to help with some long-term aging so we could produce some more unique beers, Oktoberfest that needed to age longer,” explained Rudy.

There are more than 40 microbreweries throughout the state, but according to some, state laws haven’t kept up with the rapidly growing industry.

“It’s new enough in Kansas, we’re trying to adapt the laws,” explained Philip Bradley, with the KS Craft Brewers Guild.

On Thursday, Bradley testified in front of the Senate Federal and State Affairs committee in favor of two bills.

One bill would allow microbreweries to contract with other breweries to brew their beers and even package the beer.

“They could contract with someone that had one of those lines brew and can the beer, and put it in the wholesale system and send it out to the stores for consumers to get it,” said Bradley.

The other bill allows breweries to fill and re-fill growlers.

“There was not enough specific language about growlers, crowlers, squealers, howlers, whatever you want to call them,” he said.

Lawmakers at Wednesday’s hearing seemed supportive of the legislation, asking few questions.

“It doesn’t really change anything as far as legal control of alcohol,” said State Sen. Bud Estes, R-Dodge City. “So it just makes the independent business guys, it makes it a little smoother and a little better for them.”

Back at Norsemen Brewing Company, Rudy said the legislation could help the entire industry continue to grow.

“It’s just good to have more options and helps us be more collaborative as an industry.”

The bills have already passed the House and need to pass the Senate before landing on Governor Colyer’s desk.

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