Easing regulations will help brewing businesses

An editorial from The Journal

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Some West Virginia legislators are eager to ease regulations that hamper growth of “craft brewing,” it has been reported. We’ll drink to that – figuratively speaking, of course.

Craft breweries are small operations that produce beer and similar beverages in relatively small batches. Some are offshoots of taverns and restaurants.

But some craft brewers complain they are regulated much like large regional and national beer companies. That is unnecessary and it keeps the small firms from growing, their defenders say.

So yes, perhaps lawmakers should look into the matter and brew up a new regulatory framework for the crafters.

But why limit change to small operations that produce alcoholic beverages? Why not examine the rules for other types of entrepreneurships that may not require big-business regulations to protect consumers?

Small businesses account for most jobs in West Virginia, as in the nation. Start-ups similar in philosophy to the craft brewers are engaged in everything from handyman services to food sales.

While certain rules – those ensuring food, beverages, etc., are safe to consume – certainly are important, others may be unnecessarily expensive and time consuming for small business owners.

Legislators should invite comments from entrepreneurs on what state government can do – or not do – to encourage them to be successful and create new jobs. Then, lawmakers should act on the recommendations.

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