As part of its quest to raise the political profile and awareness of craft beer-making in the state, the Ohio Craft Brewers Association will host a contingent of state lawmakers Tuesday (Feb. 4) at the Elevator Brewing Co. tasting room.
The open house lobbying effort is a first for the organization, which hired its first full-time executive director last year. About 70 lawmakers are expected to attend.
The plan is to show the lawmakers the economic power of the craft brewing industry in the state. There are more than 90 craft breweries in Ohio now. And the industry contributes $1.2 billion a year to the state economy and supports 10,731 jobs, the Colorado-based Brewers Association estimated in a study released last year. The The
The industry provides "an important economic impact on the state in terms of jobs and dollars" and the group wants to share that message, Thirsty Dog Brewing Co. co-owner John Najeway said.
The lawmakers will receive a map plotting the location of the craft breweries in the state -- and be made aware of all the other breweries that are planning to open.
"We’re trying to show the legislators how many breweries are in the state," Elevator owner Dick Stevens said. "I bet they look at this and say, 'Wow I didn’t know.'"
The Ohio legislature has been friendly to the craft brewing industry over the last few years. The state has lowered the cost of an annual brewing license for craft brewers (from $3,906 to $1,000) and allowed breweries to open tasting rooms without purchasing a second costly license.
One of the biggest brewing issues pending before lawmakers now is whether to increase the legal limit of alcohol in beer. The current limit is 12 percent. House Bill 391, proposed by state Rep. Dan Ramos (D-Lorain), would boost that to 21 percent. The bill has been assigned to the Policy and Legislative Oversight Committee.