While the merits of SB1224 are still being debated, one great thing that came out of this bill was the beginnings of the Tennessee Craft Brewers Guild. SB1224 caught many of us by surprise, including many of our resident TN brewers. Through acquaintances and grassroots efforts brewers and the beer community of this state were able to connect and speak in a unified voice; however, it became apparent that a more formal organization among the brewers was needed should other legislation come about.
The number of breweries and brewpubs in the land of orange has certainly grown over the past year. When we recently created our TN brewery list we were amazed, and a bit proud, of how many fine establishments there are and are in the works. What is needed is a voice, a unified voice, so that when legislation or other matters come about, the brewers in Tennessee can speak together and also have a pulse on what’s going on.
On July 16th at Blackstone Brewpub and Brewery in Nashville, 18 breweries from across the state gathered and unanimously voted to organize and form a guild. An exploratory team of 5 members have begun the process of working on bylaws, structure, mission statement, etc in an effort to get the ball rolling. A representative from the Brewers Association was on hand to help with the process and was a huge help from what I’m told.
Perhaps Adam Palmer of Knoxville’s very own Marble City Brewing Company said it best, “The formation of the Tennessee Craft Brewers Guild is exciting for a few reasons. There is a reason there aren’t more breweries in this state and it is in large part due to the restrictive laws. Setting up a unified and organized guild will help give the breweries a stronger voice when it comes time for writing or re-writing legislation as it pertains to beer laws. The guild will also be used to promote craft beer in the state of Tennessee through discussion boards, seminars, festivals, and other special events.”
I don’t know about you, but I am very excited about this and I applaud the efforts of these breweries. It’s a fine time to be a craft beer drinker in Tennessee and we have these brewers, breweries and owners to thank. Here’s to you. Cheers!