During a recent session in the New Hampshire state legislature, a bill was passed to amend the language and regulations regarding the manufacturing and selling of specialty ciders by brewers and alcohol manufacturers. Now, the hurdles needed to jump through in order to both make and sell ciders in the state of New Hampshire have been lowered.
Consumers can enjoy newer flavors and options more frequently throughout the year.
For a state whose official drink is apple cider, it only makes sense that there should be as little to no barriers for cider production and selling as possible.
Alcohol laws throughout the country vary in widening degrees of regulation and taxes.
In my state of Virginia, we have the Alcohol Beverage Control Authority, also to be known as the dreaded ABC. Essentially, the ABC is a state-run store which sells hard liquor and specialty drinks exclusively so that they have a monopoly on primary alcohol sales, thus making both the profit and ensuring they receive all the taxes as part of this monopoly.
On top of that, the regulatory hurdles make it near impossible for craft breweries and distilleries to not only start a business but thrive in an unforgiving environment created by politicians and special interests.
In 2018, the libertarian organization Free the People discussed this issue in a short documentary called “Guerilla Whiskey.”
In a follow-up article, contributor Logan Albright summed up the problems with the regulatory environment perfectly:
“Whiskey, the drink that has sustained our country through good times and bad, is an American staple that has been made, legally or otherwise, since Scottish and Irish immigrants first came to these shores hundreds of years ago.
Today, it’s no longer just a matter of perfecting your recipe and setting up a still. Virginia distillers have to comply with hundreds of pages of densely written regulations and devote huge amounts of their revenue towards taxes and fees just to keep the government off their back.
One cannot help but be reminded of the protection money demanded by mobsters in Prohibition-era gangster films; a comical exaggeration doesn’t seem so funny when it hits close to home.”
Small victories like the cider bill in New Hampshire show that free people ultimately want to create, sell, and consume without intrusive and unnecessary obstacles created by the government.
I only hope Virginia catches a clue soon since our problems seem to be a bit more gigantic of a hurdle to cross.