By Chris Ingram
State Senator Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland) has lead the fight on behalf of “Big Beer” interests to force micro-brewers who produce tasty craft beers to use distributors to sell their products.
Big Beer’s biggest cheerleader has taken thousands of dollars from the Big Beer lobby. She is so overcome with hallucination from her Big Beer buddies’ money, she has proclaimed to be like a mother, saying, “I believe I know what’s best.”
Among other things, the keg monitoring queen apparently knows it is best to limit competition, deny consumers the freedom of choice, increase the cost of buying a beer, and add layers of bureaucracy to budding businesses and the entrepreneurs who start them.
She is so caught up in the talking points of Big Beer, she has even defended the prohibition-era “three tier” system of beer distribution.
Under this neo-Marxian-like system (one that stresses the monopolistic rather than the competitive nature of capitalism), micro-brewers will be forced into a paper transaction with distributors in order for the micro-brewers to sell their craft beers at their own establishments. No beer will actually change possession between micro-brewers and distributors, but paperwork and money will exchange hands from the micro-brewers to the distributors – who will be acting as the middle-men in this non-transaction transaction; ultimately this will increase the cost to consumers.
Earlier this week Mama Stargel claimed this new law is necessary because, “Without proper regulation and without separating the manufacturer from the retailer, history has taught us that trouble often follows.”
What Senator Know-it-all didn’t consider is, she is creating a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.
Our anti-consumer mother also falsely said, “The claim that a craft brewery would have to pay a ‘tariff’ on their own beer that never leaves their premise is baseless.”
Mother hen apparently needs to buy a dictionary. A “tariff” according to Dictionary.com is defined as a: “bill; cost; charge.”
You don’t need and MBA to know that the new supply transaction between the micro-brewers and the distributors will include a bill from the distributor, which is a cost to the micro-brewer, and will ultimately be a charge to the consumer in the form of a higher price for beer. That’s a tariff.
To make her argument, our newly minted Mother of the Nanny State said the reason for the change in the law is because, “Currently, craft brewers operate under a tourism exemption. It allows a brewer (tier one) to sell beer to a customer as a vendor (tier three). This exemption was originally intended to allow theme parks to sell beer to its park visitors. However, craft breweries have been issued licenses under this exemption, without having to prove their tourism aspect. Thus, they are operating outside the context of the law.”
What she said about the reason for the exemption is true, but she apparently doesn’t recognize the hypocrisy. That is, the change in the law is coming at the behest of Big Beer – distributors and producers such as Anheuser-Busch – which in the case of the latter, used to own the Busch Gardens theme park. When A-B owned the park, it wanted to serve the beer it produced to park customers, so it got the exemption passed because it was good for the company.
Now that it no longer owns the park, the exemption is apparently a bad idea.
I live in Tampa, but when I go to Busch Gardens, I have never thought of myself as a tourist. But if that’s what I have to consider myself to keep Senator Stargel-ation from wrecking the craft beer industry, so be it. From now on, I’ll consider myself a tourist when I drink craft beer or go to a micro-brewery. I’d even be willing to sign a ridiculous form stating I consider myself a tourist – kind of like the form the state allows you to sign saying you’re buying bottle rockets, Roman candles and firecrackers for “agricultural” purposes (to scare birds from your crops) when you want to light up the night sky on the 4th of July.
I mean come on, this is Flori-duh! We can have a wink and a nod and drink our beer without regulation by legislators bought by Big Beer telling us they know what’s best. Competition is good. Craft beers are winning market share because their beer tastes better than the flavorless mass-produced garbage the big brewers produce. Apparently campaign cash is more important than consumer choice and free markets, and Sen. Kelli Stargel is more concerned with making Karl Marx proud.
Chris Ingram is a columnist, Republican political consultant, and political analyst for Bay News 9. Email him at: Chris@IrreverentView.com
An edited version of this column appeared in the Thursday, May 1, 2014 edition of the Tampa Tribune. Click here to read it online at TBO.com.
Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of Irreverent View. Ingram is a frequent pundit on Fox News and CNN, and has written opinion columns for the Washington Times, UPI, and National Review online. He is the Republican political analyst for Bay News 9, the only 24 hour all news channel in Florida’s largest media market. The opinions expressed here are those of author and do not represent the views of Bay News 9. E-mail him at: Chris@IrreverentView.com.
Click here for more content on Irreverent View.
Please feel free to submit a comment on our blogs. By posting a comment you acknowledge reading and following the terms and conditions of posting found here. You may also submit a comment by e-mail. If you e-mail a comment you consent to your comment and name being posted on the Irreverent View website. If you wish to remain completely anonymous, please state so in your e-mail.