Brewers join forces against proposed bill limiting craft beer business

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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- Brewers of craft beer in Nebraska are mobilizing after a proposed bill could put a bottleneck on business.

"Why do you think they would do this?" asked Don Granese.

"Well that's the mystery. We're not entirely certain of the motivation behind the introduction of this legislation," said Kim Kavulak, owner of Nebraska Craft Brewers Guild.

Last year a new bill allowed craft brewers of Nebraska to expand and build more taprooms up to five locations.

But a new bill this year would freeze existing brewers from building any more.

"They can never grow beyond what they currently have in effect,” said Kavulak.

Any new businesses could only sell beer where they actually brew it.

"It's a job killer. We're not going to be able to create those jobs, create that tax base, and create that tourism that we were so excited to be a part of when the bill was passed last year," Kavulak said.

"I think it would be terrible,” said bar patron Darrell McMillan.

"Anything that hinders business growth doesn't support Nebraska," said Sue Bosley, a longtime customer at Nebraska Brewing Company.

Senator Tyson Larson was hailed a hero by the brewers when he helped pass last year's bill for growth. Now that same senator is leaving a sour taste in these parts with this new proposal.

"It's not pro-business at all especially local business," said Kavulak.

The senator never responded to our multiple interview requests. Lawyers working on the bill said its purpose is to level the playing field of the industry.

"I don't think it's leveling the playing field at all. I think it's a direct hit on craft brewers, small brewers, small independent brewers across this entire state,” Kavulak said.