Monday, March 5, 2012

"Growth" and regulations

I wasn't expecting to find a lesson in the economics of regulation in this Times article on craft brewing in Colorado, but that ultimately was the focus. Colorado still has restrictions on the books prohibiting large sellers from stocking beer above 3.2% ABV. As any good craft beer connoisseur knows, there are precious few brews south of 5% currently on the market, let alone 3.2%.  As a result, consumers looking for more alcoholic brews are forced to patronize smaller liquor stores, which are more willing to stock local beers that tend to vary more than national brands in availability and quality. Hence the "welcoming atmosphere" for craft brews promised in the title of the article.

Everybody wins, right? Local breweries see increased demand, presumably shifted from out-of-state competitors. Having grown up in a 3.2-beer-state myself, maybe I'm more likely to state that I'd rather have the choice as a consumer to purchase products wherever I'd like, either to skip the extra trip to the liquor store if I choose to drink stronger "Bud,"or to choose to make the trip and purchase a microbrew.