Banning Beer? In Saint Louis?
This weekend, Saint Louis will host its annual Heritage Festival, a giant celebration of all things Saint Louis beer. Craft beer enthusiasts will have the opportunity to sample up-and-coming brews and some old favorites. However, due to intervention from some city officials, it appears some beers will have to be enjoyed another day.
Homebrewers primed themselves Tuesday for a potential legal battle while seeking to ensure that the hundreds of gallons they brewed for this weekend’s St. Louis Brewers Heritage Festival won’t go to waste.
Dozens of amateur brewers were stunned by a decision Monday from the city’s Excise Division that will keep homebrewed beer out of this year’s festival, which runs Friday through Sunday at the Ballpark Village site downtown. Homebrewers do not possess licenses to sell beer, so serving their beers at a festival that people pay to attend would violate a city statute, Excise Commissioner Robert Kraiberg determined.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s report, homebrewers had been sharing their brews at the Festival since 2008, and yet this year was the first time public officials ruled against the homebrewers. Homebrews have been served without apparent problems for years, and yet now is the time for the government to step in?
The law should not be prohibiting these sorts of community exhibitions by homebrewers, but if that is how the law is being interpreted and used, it needs to be amended post haste. The timing of the ruling —days before the event and after the beer had long been brewed for it — is no doubt frustrating to the brewers, but the (drinking age) community is hurt because they have fewer choices at an event where choice is paramount.
Baffling, really. Maybe the city ran out of food trucks to regulate?