Denver Business Journal: Bill to grow brewery taprooms runs dry in Colorado Legislature

“Colorado craft breweries gave up their quest Thursday to open more taprooms without having to go through a local vetting process or pay fees on the additional serving areas.

Declaring that he held a “brown folder full of woe” containing the bill, co-sponsoring Rep. Hugh McKean, R-Loveland, asked the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee to kill Senate Bill 253, a measure that had soared through the upper chamber of the Legislature with by a 28-6 margin.

The fatal flaw in the bill, backers said, was not just the dispute that state breweries were having with local bar owners over the permissiveness of the bill. It was also the estimated $160,000 cost to the state, which predicted it would have to hire three more people to handle the flood of applications they expected for new taprooms.

SB 253 originally sought to allow breweries to open two more taprooms where they could serve their beer and sell their own beer to go without subjecting them to local licensing authorities or to additional fees that typically come with applications for new businesses.

After disgruntled bar and restaurant operators told legislators that this created an uneven playing field, Senate sponsors scaled it back to allow the breweries to operated just one more temporary taproom, typically found at farmer’s markets, even as the bill still allowed wineries and distilleries to open two more brick-and-mortar locations.”

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