Proposed bill would hurt local breweries, owners say

Posted By: Brent BonFleur

Blue Bloods Brewery played host to more than 20 Nebraska beer makers Thursday night.

Their reason for coming together? To stop a proposed bill from O’Neill Senator Tyson Larson.

The bill would prevent craft brewers from opening retail or taprooms offsite from where they brew.

Cody Schmick operates a brewery in Broken Bow, and is hoping to open a second location.

He says the bill would limit their expansion, and kill job opportunities that expansion would create.

"We’re getting ready to hire 30 people in Grand Island," Schmick said.

"If this bill goes through, those 30 jobs are not coming to Grand Island."

Schmick says the bill would also increase costs, in the form of extra travel expenses for distributes.

Supporters of the bill say it would bring regulation to smaller breweries to be in line with national rules for major beer producers.

"They would have to take our beer from our brewery, they would have to take it all the way to Omaha, put it on their floor in Omaha, load it back up and bring it back to our neighbor right down the street from us," Schmick said.

"So it’s just crazy – it’s not a common sense law."

A small business owner, Daniel Schmidt says he thinks the bill would only benefit big businesses.

"It’s going to be a job killer," Schmidt said.

"It’s going to impact the local economy. it’s going to impact young jobs."

We reached out to Senator Larson for comment but never heard back.

A hearing for the bill is scheduled for Monday, February 13.