West Virginia Governor Signs Craft Beer Reform Bill

April 1, 2019

A new West Virginia law aims to foster the growth and expansion of the craft beer industry while eliminating certain burdensome regulatory requirements. On March 26, 2019, Governor Jim Justice signed Senate Bill 529 enacting the changes and reforms made to previous craft beer legislation. SB 529 is now slated to take effect 90 days from passage.

Effective June 6, 2019, SB 529:

These changes were advanced by a broad collation of stakeholders, including craft brewers, distilleries, retailers, distributors and craft beer enthusiasts alike, and are the most significant changes to the licensure and regulatory requirements for craft beer since 2015 when the “Growler Bill” was passed.

Recent newspaper articles describe craft brewers and distilleries are excited about the prospects of further expansion in the industry. The Brewers Association reports the estimated impact of the craft beer industry in West Virginia in 2017 was over $300 million. To further boost these efforts, the Appalachian Regional Commission awarded a grant to the Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI), who will administer the grant in conjunction with the Charleston Area Alliance, Putnam County Economic Development Authority, Huntington Area Development Corporation, Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce, BridgeValley Community and Technical College, and the Marshall University Research Corporation to support a proposed craft beer and spirits trail in Cabell, Putnam, Roane, Jackson and Kanawha Counties. 

Frost Brown Todd attorneys will be participating in a symposium to discuss these efforts on April 8, 2019 in South Charleston.