Nebraska micro-distilleries say two legislative bills would help them grow

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Nebraska distilleries are advocating for two legislative bills in hope of expanding production.

The General Affairs Committee was looking into these bills Monday.

LB 452, introduced by Sen. Dave Murman of Glenvil, would give micro-distilleries more flexibility when selling liquor.

Currently, distilleries need a distributor to sell to a store. This new law would allow them to cut the middleman and sell directly to a store of their choice.

Ryan Hanzlick, master distiller at Long Dogs Distilling, spoke to the committee.

“Every week, we have multiple calls, people calling want to know where they can find our stuff,” he said. “People from Lincoln, people from Omaha.”

But no one has offered to distribute his products.

“We can ship direct to the consumer; everything works right,” he said. “We can’t get it in any retail locations.”

Opponents say the bill would harm the wholesalers by taking business from them.

They also say it would create more work for grocery store managers because they would have to talk with more people selling products, instead of one or two distributers.

Another bill distillers approve of is LB 512, introduced by Sen. Tom Brewer of Gordon.

That bill would allow distilleries and craft breweries to have up to 10 retail locations.

Right now, those businesses can only have five locations.

Cody Schmick, co-owner of Sideshow Spirts, said this bill is needed because his business is hampered by the current rules.

“I really think that if we would do this, you’re going to see more taprooms pop up, you’re going to see more of this direct one-on-one with the consumer,” he said. “We like taking it from grain to glass and giving it over the bar to our customers or fans, whatever you want to call it. And I think that’s super important when growing a brand.”

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