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Minutes for HB2470 - Committee on Federal and State Affairs

Short Title

Alcoholic beverages; microbreweries; contract brewing.

Minutes Content for Thu, Jan 18, 2018

Chairperson Barker opened the hearing on HB2470.  Jason Long, Revisor, provided an overview of the bill (Attachment 1).  This bill deals with the same subject matter as HB2411, which is contracts for brewing between microbreweries.  A new provision has been added to the statute to allow Kansas licensees to contract with microbreweries both in and outside of the state of Kansas to produce beer or hard cider for that other brewery.  It also provides that the beer or hard cider can be returned to the producing microbrewery if it does not get sold.  Questions were asked by Representatives Houser and Ellis.

Chairperson Barker recognized Representative Francis Awerkamp as a proponent of HB2470 (Attachment 2).  This bill is essentially the same as HB2411, but a few clarifications have been made in connection with the in-state/out-of-state aspects.  At this time contract brewing between microbreweries is not allowed in Kansas because the alcohol laws are written in such a way that only the practices specifically stated as being allowed in the statutes are the ones allowed.  Contract brewing is not mentioned; thus the need for this legislation.  Questions were asked by Representatives Humphries, Whitmer, and Carpenter.

Chairperson Barker then recognized Philip Bradley as a proponent of HB2470 (Attachment 3).  Contract brewing is done all over the country and the equipment is very expensive and comes in different sizes.  This bill would allow a small microbrewery to contract with a larger brewery, saving them the expense of having to purchase the larger equipment.  It would also help the larger breweries that aren't fulfilling all of their usages to make some beer for the smaller microbrewery. Kansas law allows.  With regard to the question of whether both breweries have to count the barrels, Mr. Bradley stated that although they both have to count them, only the first brewery is taxed.  The cap of 60,000 barrels came about because there was some concern about microbreweries getting too big.  They are in agreement with the amendments proposed by the ABC.  In addition, they plan to introduce another bill relating to how strong the beer can be made.  They want to increase it from 10 percent alcohol by weight to 15 percent by weight.  Chairperson Barker asked for the definition of a microbrewery.  Mr. Bradley stated that by statute it's a Kansas brewery that doesn't brew more than 60,000 barrels a year.  Questions were asked by Representatives Carpenter and Smith.   

Sean Willcott was recognized by Chairperson Barker as a proponent of HB2470 (Attachment 4). He is working to open a microbrewery in Holton, Kansas. He will be investing in packaging equipment to package product in 12 ounce glass bottles and then sell it through Kansas distributors to the public.  He also wants to help other microbreweries expand their market reach by using his packaging equipment.  This will help get more product on the shelves in Kansas and will help the whole industry.  Questions were asked by Representative Lusk and Chairperson Barker. 

Chairperson Barker stated that there was written proponent testimony from Jared Rudy of Norsemen Brewing Company (Attachment 5) and there was neutral testimony from Debbi Beavers of the ABC (Attachment 6).   Chairperson Barker complimented Representative Awerkamp for  getting a bill that the ABC does not oppose.  

The Chairman closed the hearing on HB2470.

Chairperson Barker asked if there were any bill introductions.  There were none.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:30 a.m.