Negotiations on a bill at the Colorado Legislature that would require new brewery sales rooms to tell local regulators about their state applications have been amicable so far, reported the Denver Business Journal. If the bill were to pass, local governments get a chance to tell the state if the brewery is right for its proposed location.
But if the Colorado Restaurant Association is able to add more regulations to the legislation, the proposal may become a fight between brewers and restaurants.
Right now, local licensing authorities would get 30 days to submit comments to the state, and the state would have to consider the comments in choosing to approve or deny the license.
Breweries are on board, but Sonia Riggs, president and CEO of the CRA, told the Denver Business Journal that "any location that sells alcohol on site should be subject to the same regulations that govern other beer-selling establishments, such as taverns or bars."
Riggs didn't say which regulations she wants to increase on taprooms, saying that she would work with proponents on any amendments her organization might want to add to the bill. But backers of HB 1217 said they have heard calls already from the restaurant industry for taprooms to have to collect signatures from local communities or to have to offer some kind of snacks or foods like taverns and bars must do.
"Otherwise, it is an unfair playing field," Riggs said.
Any attempt to ramp up those rules, however, will produce opposition.
Delange [co-owner of Dry Dock Brewing] noted that restaurants and taprooms are separate business models and that breweries already have to deal with regulations that bars and taverns don't, such as limitations on serving only the beer that they produce and requirements to get their products approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.