Craft brewers say new FDA mandate will limit beer selection
New York Post
By Mary Kay Linge
November 29, 2015
Government health nannies are thirsty for a new target, and this time it’s craft beer.
FDA busybodies will mandate by next December that restaurant chains offer full nutritional information for beers on tap – everything from calorie counts to protein content. The rule forces breweries to do expensive tests to keep their suds flowing at places like Applebee’s or TGI Friday’s.
Such lab work costs more than $600 per brew and takes weeks. Big manufacturers like Bud can absorb the expense and delays, but the city’s 30 small craft brewers will be hit hard.
Many of these local artisanal brewers make dozens of different styles of beer, many of them seasonal – and each variety would require the costly, time-consuming analysis. Other Half Brewing in Brooklyn, for example, lists 42 brews on its Web site.
“It’s a big problem going forward,” said Dave Lopez of Gun Hill Brewing in The Bronx. “The only way it’s feasible is to limit what is available to consumers.”
Paul Leone of the New York State Brewers Association said, “There’s no way they could afford to test every one of those brews.”
Local craft brewing is a burgeoning, $3.5 billion industry in New York state, but the increasing burden of federal rules could strangle the business in its cradle, brewers say.
“It’s ironic because the state has done so much to promote local brands,” said Lopez, including a 2014 law that loosened restrictions on small New York brewers.
For Staten Island’s Flagship Brewery, getting its brews on tap at chain restaurants like Red Robin has been a key part of the business plan. “Local people who don’t know about us are finding us there,” said co-owner Jay Sykes.
Customers sampling brews in the Flagship taproom scoffed at the coming rules.
“It’s ridiculous, just government baloney,” said Matt DuPre of Brooklyn. “With this beer, you don’t care about the calories. You care about the process and the craft.”