Brewery bill passes without controversial clause

Alex Briner pours a glass of beer at Prairie Pride Brewing in Grand Island (NTV News)

A bill targeting Nebraska’s liquor laws has passed without its controversial clause.

Local craft brewers said having to go through a distributor before selling their beer in tap rooms would hurt the industry.

The bill still tackles music licensing and clarifies the definition of "bottle club.”

Senator Tyson Larson, who introduced LB632, said current law on distributing is unconstitutional because it treats in state and out of state brewers differently.

During debate Larson said brewers are “choosing to go into the most heavily regulated industry in the nation.”

Other senators disagreed and passed an amendment, with the bill passing 43-0-5.

Senator Carol Blood introduced the amendment, which struck the following line from the bill:

A manufacturer's license shall allow the manufacture, storage, and sale of alcoholic liquor to wholesale licensees in this state and to such persons outside the state as may be permitted by law, except that nothing in the Nebraska Liquor Control Act shall prohibit a 30 manufacturer of beer from distributing tax-paid samples of beer at the premises of a licensed manufacturer for consumption on the premises.

Blood said the “back door stuff” surrounding the bill turns her stomach.

“Not all of our Nebraska breweries are big and all of them will be harmed by this bill,” she said before the amendment passed.

The bill has now advanced to enrollment and initial review.

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