Our state legislature actually did something useful last week. Lawmakers voted to end the discrimination that has plagued Ohio microbreweries while favoring local wineries.
What’s most important about this according to the Akron Beacon Journal, is that Westlake’s Black Box Brewery and Cleveland’s Indigo Imp are planning to build tasting rooms where locals, and tourists alike, can try out all the craft brew varieties on offer.
Akron’s Ohio Brewing Company will also build a tasting room.
“It’s a great day for Ohio microbreweries and the Ohio craft brewing industry because it allows microbreweries to showcase their products in a relaxed setting and put us on par with the wineries,” Chris Verich, Ohio Brewing’s owner told the paper.
A new law will take effect in March, eliminating the $3,906 state license fee required for any local brewery not attached to a brewpub wanting to offer beer tastings. For most small operations this cost was prohibitive and not only that, only three such tasting licenses were issued each year. The law also greatly increases the number of breweries in the state that will be permitted to have tasting rooms.
The finally elevates craft brewers to the level of Ohio wineries, which have enjoyed the ability to offer wine tastings for a tiny $76 annual state license fee.
Stay tuned for more on the tasting room plans.