MARYLAND HEIGHTS, MO (KTVI) - It’s a debate over how Missourians can purchase beer, and the Missouri Senate gave first round approval to Senate Bill 919 on Wednesday. The measure is sponsored by state Sen. Eric Schmitt, (R) Glendale.
The measure would allow convenience stores and grocers to sell draft beer in the form of growlers. The idea of selling growlers is appealing to local beer makers such as the Ferguson Brewing Company.
“It would just be another way to introduce consumers to our product,” said Head Brewer Ryan Landolt.
A separate part of the bill allows beer makers to lease their own refrigeration units to retailers. Critics of that provision feel it gives bigger beer companies an advantage over smaller ones. Critics argue smaller breweries cannot afford to place as many refrigeration units in stores as a big brewer could.
The Missouri Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association supports the bill. A spokesman said ultimately it’s up to the retailer to decide which product goes into the coolers.
“I think this provides increased access for consumers to enjoy not only the national brands, but more of their craft brews from the region,” said Ronald Leone, the agency’s executive director.
Anheuser-Busch supports the measure and released the following statement from Marcelo Abud, Region Vice President, Anheuser-Busch.
“We are supportive of MO S.B. 919 because it would help enhance the position of beer in a competitive retail landscape. The bill would give retailers the ability to provide more consumer choice and also improve the customer experience by offering more options to refrigerate product.
This legislation would help the entire beer community in Missouri. In fact, similar laws are in place in states with booming craft beer segments, including Wisconsin and Colorado.
We appreciate Senator Schmitt’s leadership as S.B. 919 has progressed through the Missouri Senate this session.”