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Monday, May 6, 2013

Missouri Lobbyists Will Work for Booze? The "Liquor Wars" at the Legislature Intensify

Posted By on Mon, May 6, 2013 at 8:45 AM

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Haynes adds, "My voice is a very small voice. And we don't have the resources to pay lobbyists.... What is it we have?"

The company started in 2011 and is growing successfully, but at this point, he says, "We can't even pay ourselves."

Pinckney Bend Distillery. - VIA FACEBOOK
  • via Facebook
  • Pinckney Bend Distillery.

That's why, Haynes says, he was pleased to get some advice from the lobbying firm and, with the help of McIntosh, will be going to the legislature this week to meet with lawmakers and explain his stance.

"We've been doing really well.... I'm happy with my distributor. However, as happy as I am with my distributor, as our brands grow, I may not be happy...one, three, five years from now.... We are not willing to surrender control of our brand."

Here's a full draft version of the bill.

Senate Bill 365

And here's part of the e-mail from Haynes, which was forwarded to Daily RFT.

I had a long conversation with Richard McIntosh of the lobbying firm Flotron & Macintosh. They represent the big players lined up against this legislation.... They have also represented the Missouri wine industry in the past. A summery of our conversation is as follows:

1. They know their way around Jeff City, and this issue in particular. They led the fight that defeated it last year.

2. They want to represent us craft distillers in this fight, and they will work for product. No money need change hands.

3. They will help us direct our efforts in order to be most effective, beginning today.

4. We should waste no time in organizing for action.

5. The outcome of this business is far from decided, and we should make no 'cut out' deals in exchange for our freedom.

The unanimous vote at Saturday's meeting was that we were against this legislation. Pinckney Bend will accept and follow the advise and guidance of Flotron & McIntosh in fighting this legislation, and contribute product to the effort. If you are on board with this arrangement, let me know and I will keep you in the loop.

Talking Points:

HB 759 & SB 365 Create a Distribution Monopoly That Hurts Small Missouri Producers

1. HB 759/ SB 365 serves the financial interests of one large liquor distributor (Major Brands) at the expense of hundreds of small Missouri wineries, breweries, distilleries, distributorships, their employees and families.

2. HB 759/ SB 365 adds yet another level of government regulation to an industry that is already heavily regulated. This legislation is unanimously opposed by Missouri's craft distilling community.

3. HB 759 / SB 365 proposes using the power of the State to intervene in what is now a free market, impede free trade and effectively lock small producers into representation with no reasonable means of escape, regardless of distributor performance.

Regards, Ralph Pinckney Bend Distillery

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin.

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