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More than Malt and Hops: Difficulties in Running a Brewery

Strict legal and economic regulations part of beer industry boom

Beer is the most-popular alcoholic beverage worldwide, and studies show it is third overall behind water and tea.

According to the Brewers Association there were 4,269 breweries in the United States in 2015, up from 110 in 1985. The boom in craft breweries has given Americans thousands of choices of beer.

While it’s become easy to brew beer, the regulatory environment surrounding the industry remains complex. Rules such as where and when beer can be sold and the size of containers beer can go in are just two examples, and the laws vary from state to state.

“The beer industry has been heavily regulated since prohibition,” says Michael McCullough, a professor at California Polytechnic State University. “We’re focusing on the big hurdles small and regional-sized breweries are facing.”

McCullough is part of “Regulation in the Brewing Industry: A Panel Discussion of Brewing Experts,” a session at the 2016 Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA) Annual Meeting in Boston July 31 – August 2.

Three brewery owners and operators from New England will discuss everything that goes into starting and running a brewery, and the legal difficulties they’ve encountered.

This session is being held Monday, August 1, 2016, at 2:45 PM at the Boston Marriott Copley Place, in the Hyannis Room on the fourth floor. If you are interested in setting up an interview before or during the meeting, please contact Jay Saunders in the AAEA Business Office.


Contact: Allison Scheetz
Senior Communications Manager
(414) 918-3190