Ohio Beer Counsel
Information and Commentary on the Issues Facing Ohio's Craft Beer Community, Breweries and Distilleries - Brewed by the Craft Beer Lawyers of Bruns, Connell, Vollmar & Armstrong's Brewery & Distillery Practice Group
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Brewers: Pour No More

You may think the brewer of a particular beer would be THE natural fit to serve that beer at a beer festival or tasting given his/her superior knowledge of the beer?  You would be correct in that thought.  You may also think there is no problem with this actually happening?  Strangely in Ohio, you'd be wrong.

As recently highlighted by Ohio beer blogger Rick Armon, this is "one of those quirky liquor laws" on the books of Ohio.  Individuals holding beer tastings (i.e., at beer festivals or other non-profit tastings) must obtain the proper permit from the State of Ohio.  For purposes of Ohio law, a brewer is a "manufacturer," and as a manufacturer, a brewer cannot assist the holder of any permit for sale at retail by gift, loan of money or property or "other valuable thing."

A brewer assisting a permit holder in pouring beer constitutes some "other valuable thing."  As such, it is against the law for brewers to serve their suds at beer festivals and non-profit tastings.

So what to do?  Currently, there is no relief.  However, a brewer can obtain a $50 solicitor's permit which allows the brewer to be in close proximity of his/her booth at a festival, ply visiting imbibers with knowledge of their brew and answer any questions.