Letters to the Editor: Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023

Breweries like ours are making positive contributions to communities all over the state, but that doesn’t mean change isn’t needed in our industry. Ohio’s outdated, 50-year-old Alcoholic Beverages Franchise Act is putting a stranglehold on the growth potential and prosperity of small and independent craft breweries like ours. By modernizing this antiquated law, we can pave the way for a brighter future for Ohio’s craft brewers and the communities we serve.

While craft breweries were non-existent when Ohio passed this law in 1974, today there are more than 400 breweries like ours operating across the state. Senate Bill 138 is a crucial step toward bringing Ohio’s revised code into line with the modern brewing industry and craft beer market. Under existing law, when a brewery enters into a distribution agreement with a wholesaler, they find themselves locked into an effectively unbreakable contract. Because it is nearly impossible for small breweries to extricate themselves from unfavorable or unfair business arrangements with large, powerful wholesalers, our potential to grow our small family business is constrained as long as this outdated law stands.

Senate Bill 138 will liberate craft breweries from a law that was conceived long before we existed and was never intended for us. This week the Ohio Craft Brewer Freedom Act is receiving its first hearing, but let’s not stop there.

Now is the perfect moment for action. We cannot afford to wait any longer. Our elected leaders should be actively promoting entrepreneurship, innovation and the sustainable expansion of Ohio’s brewing industry. I strongly urge our state legislators to prioritize common-sense, reasonable reforms to Ohio’s franchise law and to promptly move Ohio Craft Brewer Freedom Act this fall.

Sincerely on behalf of,

Crooked Handle Brewing Co. - Springboro & Piqua, Ohio

Hairless Hare Brewery - Vandalia, Ohio

Warped Wing Brewery - Dayton, Springboro, Mason & Huber Heights, Ohio

Southern Ohio Brewing - Beavercreek, Ohio

Fifth Street Brewpub - Dayton, Ohio

Toxic Brew Co. - Dayton, Ohio

Full Circle Brewgarden - Englewood, Ohio

Lock 27 Brewing - Centerville & Dayton, Ohio

Yellow Springs Brewery - Yellow Springs, Ohio

Loose Ends Brewing - Centerville, Ohio

Heavier Than Air Brewing Co. - Centerville. Ohio

Gravel Road Brewing Co. - Middletown, Ohio

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New Ales Brewing - Middletown, Ohio

Carillon Brewing Co. - Dayton, Ohio

Devil Wind Brewing - Xenia, Ohio

Branch & Bone Artisan Ales - Dayton, Ohio

Bushrod Brew Works - Eaton, Ohio

Bock Family Brewing - Centerville, Ohio

Moeller Brew Barn - Maria Stein, Troy & Dayton, Ohio

Mother Stewart’s Brewing - Springfield, Ohio

Little Fish Brewing Brewing Co. - Athens & Dayton, Ohio

- Jason Moore, owner of Crooked Handle Brewing Co.

I read this story with interest: “Mayor concerned about pack of ATV, dirt bike, motorcycles drivers taking over Dayton streets, local roads.” Clearly the mayor is in his rights to want to maintain safe conditions on the roads. But there also appears to be a strong interest among quite a few people in this town in having a place where ATV owners, dirt bikes, and motorcycles can enjoy a fun day of riding. Why couldn’t we do both? Enforce the traffic laws on our streets, but also close down a few roadways on Sunday afternoons to auto traffic during defined days and times to allow the ATV owners, dirt bike riders, and motorcycles to have fun for the afternoon. Require waivers from all participants, and parental permission for minors, as well as full protective gear: helmets, gloves, jackets and boots. And couldn’t Dayton open a dirt bike/ATV track at one of Dayton’s many vacant industrial or commercial unused fields and lots? One reason people are riding illegally is because there are so few legal places to ride. When I was a kid, there were dozens of places where we were allowed to ride, but all of them are closed now - the closest state-run dirt bike and RV trails are hours away. There are a couple of small, privately-owned riding spots, but the number of people they can accommodate is limited. ATV and dirt bike riding is fun. Kids who are learning to ride and maintain their own dirt bike are not getting into other kinds of trouble. The city should encourage them to do so legally, by creating the space.

- Jeri Simmons, Dayton