Queensland’s controversial liquor laws were passed overnight. While the laws have bars and nightclubs in an uproar, the legislation provides a ray of sunshine for craft brewers.
Among the provisions of the Tackling Alcohol-Fuelled Violence Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 were amendments to the Liquor Act 1992 that provide for new producer wholesale licences.
These licences provides a permit for craft brewers that will enable them to sell and supply craft beer sell craft beer, produced by the licensee on their premises, at promotional events and for consumption away from the event.
It is understood this permit will enable craft brewers to sell beer and provide samples, as well as sell up to 9 litres of beer to take away, at a wide range of promotional events, including market stalls.
A ‘craft brewer’ is defined as a brewer making up to five million litres, down from the original proposal which aligned with the Craft Beer Industry Association’s definition of craft brewer, which is a brewer producing up to 40 million litres.
The beer closes the gap between the state’s wine producers, who have access to satellite licences to sell their products, and craft small brewers who were unable to sell or supply their product, even in their brewery, without a separate bar licence.
Licencing consultant Russell Steele from RSA Liqour Professionals, who has been campaigning for the permits since 2011, said the permits were an awesome bit of news amongst the controversy.
“These permits are an absolutely long-overdue path to market for small brewers,” Steele said.
“[They] give craft brewers a chance to get out and showcase their products to new markets and to sell them a carton straight away without having to pay for a line in a bottleshop.”
Steele said it was the third time the provisions had been inserted into Bills before Parliament.
During hearing for an earlier Bill, the Craft Beer Industry Association lobbied for the permits, arguing:
In Queensland, craft breweries cannot sell or supply their beer away from their licensed production premises – there is simply no ability to apply for a suitable permit for a market festival or similar event. The only limited scope to expose craft beer products for sale direct to consumers away from the main premises relies on using a host venue such as a Convention Centre or licensed venue. Access to these is often limited for smaller players.
The permits will act as an important incubator for the local craft beer industry by enabling craft brewers to attend markets and food festivals to showcase their products, and immediately capitalise on interest generated with takeaway sales.
Queensland liquor licence law changes benefit craft brewers.
The Craft Beer Industry Association (CBIA) has welcomed moves made by the Queensland government to support craft brewers in legislation passed by Parliament last night.
The legislation presented contains amendments to existing liquor licences and the implementation of a permit system to allow for craft breweries, from Queensland and interstate, to supply samples and sell beer at promotional events. It also allows for sales of take away beer of up to nine litres, which is the equivalent of a standard carton of 24 x 375ml containers
“The Craft Beer Industry Association has been heavily involved in lobbying to allow for an off premise authority for craft brewers in Queensland so we are very pleased that this legislation has passed Parliament,” said CBIA Executive Officer Chris McNamara.
“We appreciate the fact that the Queensland Government has recognized the growing role that craft beer plays in the Queensland economy. Hopefully they also recognise the role that craft beer can play in encouraging a responsible drinking culture.”
“The legislation is only very new so we will be working with our consultant, Russell Steele from RSA Liquor Professionals, in the coming weeks to analyse the details of the amendments and their implementation. The CBIA would like to thank Russell for all of the hard work he has put into working for these reforms over recent years.”
“Although last night’s amendments brought good news for craft brewers we would like to acknowledge that many of our partners in the hospitality sector will face further regulation,” said McNamara.