New Law to Benefit Arizona Breweries and Distilleries

Apr 11, 2014

A group of brewers and distillers in the state are behind reforming an alcohol law. As Arizona Public Radio’s Justin Regan Reports, it’s part of a large bill that loosens regulations on the production of beer and spirits.

The brewing facilities at Four Peaks, one of Arizona's largest breweries.

The current cap for brewers is 40,000 barrels of beer annually per location. Raising that limit would allow bigger breweries to expand their distribution to other states. Nathan Friedman is the owner and head brewer at Wanderlust Brewing Company in Flagstaff.

“I think this is a really great piece of legislation that would allow these breweries to really grow to a regional brewery instead of a statewide brewery,” Friedman says.

While his production is about 300 barrels a year, well below the state’s limit, he says the bill will affect how he expands in the future.

The new law would put the production limits in line with other states, like California and Colorado. Larger microbreweries there distribute across state lines and in Arizona. Changes to the bill would also raise production caps for micro distilleries, opening up the potential for more profit and the ability to self-distribute.

Rodney Hu, a managing partner with the Arizona Distilling Co. in Tempe, is hopeful the bill will help boost the micro distilling industry in the state.

“I think it is interesting that it is going this route. Kind of allows the smaller guys to participate and get going and we’re all for it as long as it promotes small business industry,” Hu says.

According to the Arizona Republic, the beer limit was doubled before in 2009.