The good news broke Wednesday night at the top of the page listing bills signed into law by Governor Michelle Lujan-Grisham. Senate Bill 413, which we profiled just recently, got the signature that craft breweries were hoping for and will become effective on July 1.
To sum up the benefits of the bill, breweries will now be able to sell beer at 11 a.m. on Sundays (no more waiting until almost halftime of NFL games); they can have private celebration permits for events like weddings, graduation parties, and so on; there will be minimum standards (50 barrels a year or 50 percent of all sales coming from beer brewed on site) for businesses to hold a small brewer license; and the excise tax has been ironed out, with breweries paying $.08 per gallon on the first 30,000 barrels produced. There are also benefits for cider producers and craft distillers.
In a legislative session crammed with so many bills, and an uncertain environment with the change in governors, no one was quite sure if the bill would pass. Thanks to State Rep. Javier Martinez and Senator Mimi Stewart, Guild lobbyists Al Park and Jason Weaks, and the tireless work of Tractor Brewing co-owner/president Skye Devore (who publicly spearheaded the Brewers Guild’s efforts), this bill not only passed both houses, but it reached the governor’s desk. At that point, all everyone could do was wait and hope it would not come down to Friday’s final deadline.
Thankfully, that wait ended Wednesday night, as Rep. Martinez tweeted out the news of the bill being signed, and a whole lot of online congratulations followed throughout the New Mexico craft beer community.
In the wee hours of the night, a jubilant Skye emailed her response to us, “I am beyond thrilled that the hard work of our Industry has paid off! The signing of this bill has significant positive impact for the entire craft beverage industry. I am particularly thankful to our sponsors, Senator Mimi Stewart and Representative Javier Martinez, former Guild Director John Gozigian, Jess Griego from Bosque Brewing, Brian Lock and Alana Jones from Santa Fe Brewing, Ted Rice from Marble Brewery, Jeff Erway from La Cumbre Brewing, everyone who showed up in committee or wrote letters, our lobbyists, Al Park and Jason Weaks, and finally, Governor Michelle Lujan-Grisham. Now let’s have a kick ass party to celebrate! (As soon as everyone is back from Craft Brewers Conference, of course.)”
Other brewery owners and members of the Guild’s Board of Directors emailed us their responses this morning. (If any come in late, we will still add them here.)
Jeff Erway, La Cumbre: We all owe Skye and our lobbyists a great debt of gratitude for carrying this bill across the finish line for us. With her signature, our Governor has helped to foster the incredible growth in our industry. By knowing what our tax structure will be, breweries like La Cumbre will be able to grow with the piece of mind of simply knowing what our taxes will look like, instead of going into it blindly. This bill will undoubtedly result in job creation at La Cumbre and so many other great breweries throughout our state.
Jamie Schwebach, Canteen: We are pleased that the Governor signed SB413, allowing tax breaks for growth, private celebration permits, and the opening at 11 a.m. on Sundays. This bill also brought together the craft beverage community, offering benefits for all concerned, benefiting the small brewery to the larger manufacturer. We are excited for the continued growth here in New Mexico. Skye Devore from Tractor Brewing Company put in a massive amount of time and effort into this bill, and informing the craft beverage community with updates and opportunities to get involved. I truly believe that the bill would not have had such success without her determination and dedication. Many thanks to her efforts and that of former NMBG Executive Director John Gozigian.
Jess Griego, Bosque: I am so thrilled at the outcome of SB413! I had never participated in the legislative process at this high of a level, and the experience was eye-opening and educational, to say the least. We are so grateful for all of the legislators who supported our bill, especially Representative Javier Martinez and Senator Mimi Stewart, and of course for Governor Lujan-Grisham for signing it into law. New Mexico craft beverage manufacturers really came together to write a comprehensive bill that positively impacted every small business in our industry. We look forward to using the tax cost savings that this bill provides for Bosque to reinvest in our business, and to create more jobs in New Mexico. This was no small feat, and I have to say that this absolutely would not have happened without Skye Devore’s tireless efforts, as well as time and energy away from her own business to make this happen for us all. Thank you, Skye, for taking me under your wing and showing me the ropes up at the Capitol. Cheers!
John Gozigian, former NMBG executive director: After a decade of involvement with the Guild as a board member, board president, and most recently executive director, it’s extremely gratifying to tick off such an important legislative win. What’s especially satisfying about passing SB413 is the fact that it benefits every one of our members: large, small, rural, urban, brewpub, production brewery, and nano. I think what made us successful, ultimately, is that we’re a cohesive industry and are able to rally around the causes that are important to us in a unified way.
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All we can say is thank you to everyone involved. This is good news for the craft brewing industry, and by extension, for all of us who regularly inhabit the breweries and taprooms around the state.