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Craft beer predicted to grow under new WV law

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State Tourism Commissioner Amy Shuler Goodwin said Monday she’s confident the number of craft brewers in West Virginia will double from the current 11 with new legislation that lowers licensing and bonding costs and eliminates archaic restrictions on the sale and distribution of craft beer (SB273).

Brian Arnett, co-owner of Mountain State Brewing in Thomas and president of the West Virginia Craft Brewers Guild, concurred.

“It’s really going to help craft brewers in West Virginia,” he said. “You’re going to see them start popping up all over the state.”

Although the actual bill was signed in March and won’t go into effect until June 12, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin staged a ceremonial bill signing Monday for an audience of craft brewers and tourism industry representatives.

“I was proud to introduce a bill that helps develop one of our state’s fastest-growing niche markets, craft brewing,” said Tomblin, who also announced a state Craft Beer Week, Aug. 15-22, that will feature a number of beer-themed festivals and events.

Arnett said a key change in the law will allow the sale of growlers — 32- to 64-ounce containers of beer — at restaurants, grocery and convenience stores. Under current law, growlers can be sold only at the brewery or brew pub.

Since most craft brewers don’t have the resources or scale of production to have their beer bottled or canned, growlers are the primary means of off-premises distribution…

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