Idaho Court Rules Against Effort to Restrict 10 Barrel Brewpub in Idaho

A state district court ruled against the distributor challenge to the Idaho State Police’s interpretation of Idaho’s small brewer definition.  The Court noted the confusing language in the sections of Idaho code but concluded, “Whatever the legislature intended, it did not preclude an international giant in the industry from buying out the local competition of brewers so long as the local entity operates within the statutory parameters for its own product.   If this is not the result intended by the legislature, the solution falls to the legislature.”

As such for now ABI gets to own the 10 Barrel Brewpub in Boise despite ABI producing well over 30,000 barrels of beer.

(Earlier post from Dec 2014) Legal Action in Idaho Regarding ABInBev Ownership and Operation of Brewpub

In October ABInBev announced it was purchasing 10 Barrel Brewery based in Bend, Oregon. There have been numerous press stories about this purchase.

The declaratory action seeks a ruling to confirm Idaho’s statute that a brewer producing more than 30,000 barrels cannot hold a retail, brew pub or wholesale license. ABInbev produces over 180 million barrels of beer a yeand the press release announcing the deal noted that 10 Barrel produces more than 40,000 barrels.

The purchase of retail operations, as well as other actions in the middle tier, raises the question what was meant when ABI was formed and the new leadership pledged to “fully support the three tier system” as ABI now seeks to establish itself as brewer, distributor and now retailer.

Ironically,  in the United Kingdom, Parliament  recently voted to end the “tied” system of pub ownership by producers which limits consumer choice and new brewer entry.

The matter will be heard by state courts in Idaho.

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