Bringing Our Alcohol Laws To The 21st Century
A column by Gov. Dennis Daugaard:
When I speak with business prospects, I often praise our common sense regulatory environment. I emphasize that we don’t place unnecessary hurdles before our citizens or entrepreneurs in South Dakota. Success is allowed here and government doesn’t get in the way.
Until very recently though, this hasn’t been the case for microbreweries in South Dakota. Many of South Dakota’s laws on alcohol were designed right after prohibition ended, including our laws governing microbreweries. Our statutes capped microbrewery production at 5,000 barrels of beer per year. This is very small, compared to Montana’s cap of 60,000, Wyoming’s cap of 50,000 and North Dakota’s cap of 25,000. Iowa had no cap at all. South Dakota also did not allow a microbrewery to sell its product directly to a retailer while Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa did.
As of July 1, this is no longer the case. A bill I signed into law this past legislative session now allows microbreweries to produce up to 30,000 barrels of beer per year and they can also self-distribute their product. These updates will allow us to better compete with our surrounding states and help our homegrown craft breweries grow and thrive.
I also signed several other bills this year to modernize our alcohol statutes – some of which just went into effect at the beginning of this month as well. Two of these new laws allow farm wineries, distillers and microcideries to hold other types of retail licenses and operate at additional locations under the same privileges. Other laws streamlined regulations for wine manufacturers, provided greater flexibility for charitable events and eliminated the prohibition on using alcohol in some types of foods.
South Dakota’s alcohol laws were written over 80 years ago, during a very different era. I am glad we have streamlined and modernized our statutes, so that they make sense for a 21st Century economy. The new framework improves our already stellar business climate, and validates claims I’ve been making to our business prospects.