Opinion

Tourists toast West Virginia’s new distillery law

An editorial from the Charleston Daily Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — About 160 visitors, many from out of state, toasted West Virginia’s new distillery law on Saturday at Bloomery Plantation Distillery in Charles Town, Jefferson County, West Virginia, reported the Journal of Martinsburg.

Here’s to more small business growth — distillery or otherwise — in West Virginia.

Here’s to state lawmakers listening to owners and operators of promising growth businesses and removing — or at least alleviating — outdated taxes, rules and laws.

Here’s to Senate Bill 574, passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, as an improvement in the state’s Prohibition-era liquor and alcohol laws.

The Bloomery Distillery had closed Feb. 10, faced with a myriad of rules and taxes.

“We will never be profitable in the state of West Virginia with this model,” co-owner Linda Losey told the Daily Mail’s Jared Hunt at the time. “It does not compute.”

The state got out of the retail liquor business in 1990, but still controls wholesale liquor sales.

 Before this legislative session, to sell at retail, distilleries like Bloomery would have to sell their product to the state, then buy it back at 28 percent markup. Then, by law, they had to mark up their product 10 percent.

They then had to charge an additional 10 percent Market Zone Tax…

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