HELENA – The Legislature is rejecting a measure backed by tavern owners that would restrict brewery tasting rooms.
The House Business and Labor Committee tabled House Bill 616 on Wednesday, a week after brewery owners packed a hearing in opposition to the bill.
The measure would put new restrictions on the brewing industry. A $100,000 state license would have been required for brewers to sell beer directly to consumers.
The tavern owners argued that some breweries have grown into full-scale retail establishments not envisioned by the original tasting room law. They argue it is unfair competition since bar owners have to purchase expensive, and limited, alcohol licenses.
Brewers said the bill would kill a fledgling industry, and said the tap rooms that must close at 8 p.m. do not compete with taverns.