New York State recently passed the Bigger, Better Bottle Bill. One clause in that bill states that anyone who sells bottled products in New York State must have a specific New York only UPC label on that bottle. This part of the bill would be a major headache for many businesses but its main impact would be felt by small, local brewers.
The American Homebrewers Association and the Brewers Association sent out this release on Monday asking all beer fans to call up their local government officials and tell them that this is unacceptable. I have allready called.
May 4, 2009
Dear New York Beer Activist,
At the request of the New York State Brewers Association, we are alerting you to an issue which could dramatically affect your access to the craft beers made by small breweries all across the country.
As you have likely learned, the state of New York recently enacted a requirement that bottled products sold in your state must bear a New York-specific UPC code for bottle deposit and redemption purposes. This requirement will have severe negative impacts on many businesses, including and particularly, small breweries. The cost to produce a state-specific label with a unique UPC and the inventory and shipping challenges that presents, will mean many small breweries will be forced to pull their beers out of the New York market because the cost of doing business in the state will be simply too high. And just think of the precedent this potentially sets for other states should they enact similar requirements...small brewer out-of-state sales could be decimated coast to coast.
Several brewing companies have already weighed in on this issue with the Governor, explaining they would have no choice but to discontinue distribution of their beers. This is bad for the state of New York, bad for small brewers everywhere, and perhaps worst of all for New York residents who are craft beer drinkers. Access to the wide range of beer you currently enjoy will be severely limited in the future should this requirement remain on the books.
Please take a few minutes and call or email your State Senator and Assemblyman. Let them know that you feel the New York-specific UPC is a bad idea for business and a bad idea for Empire State residents who drink craft beer and vote. Ask them to support a repeal of the New York-specific UPC requirement as contained in the recently passed Bottle Bill.
To identify your state elected officials by zip code and for contact information:
Assembly - http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/
Senate - http://www.senate.state.ny.us/sdlookup.nsf/Public_search?OpenForm
Thanks for standing up for consumer choice and America's small brewers.
American Homebrewers Association
888.822.8273 x 121