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Missouri Legislature Can Promote Free Markets by Passing Beer Cooler Legislation

By Rick Manning

What if I told you that, in Missouri, it is not legal for a beer drinker to buy a non-sealed container full of craft beer? Or for a retailer to lease retail space to a beer manufacturer, a common privilege enjoyed by other producers in other industries? Outdated laws like this hamper consumer choice and limit commerce all over America, and that needs to end.

Sen. Eric Schmitt’s S.B. 919 is a simple, common sense reform that returns economic freedom to both craft beer manufacturers and retailers cutting away red tape that has long outlived its purpose. As a national organization dedicated to reducing the size and scope of government, Americans for Limited Government supports allowing local retailers a greater freedom of choice on allocating their shelf space and opening up their retail markets to small craft beer producers seeking to gain market share.

Freedom and opportunity typically expand or contract through modest measures; this law makes the exact kind of positive change that empowers local retailers to increase their choices about refrigerated shelf space and offer broader beer product choices to their customers to meet demand. This is a liberty issue that empowers individuals to make decisions rather than the state exercising power that impinges on their fundamental rights as commercial enterprises.

The measure would allow Missouri to join sixteen other states in knocking down this post-Prohibition era restriction, including Colorado and Wisconsin. It must be noted that both Colorado and Wisconsin enjoy a thriving craft beer industry, suffering no negative impact as a result of their respective choices to end this outmoded restriction.

The freedom of small retailers and grocers in Missouri to make their own decisions based upon the needs of their local markets. It is through thousands of these individual business decisions that consumer demand is met; these local businesses thrive or decline based upon how well they meet the wishes of the communities they serve. Cutting back red tape like this can send the message that Missouri is open for business, and will deal fairly with consumers and industry alike.

Like any Cardinal or Royal fan can tell you, you win ball games consistently by making the little plays, moving runners over, going first to third on a single, and hitting the cut-off man. Similarly you cut the size and scope of government by making smart moves like passing Senator Schmitt’s S.B. 919 (or similar cooler language in S.B. 994) and increase retailers freedom and consumer choices. That’s the winning free market legislative play for Missouri.

Rick Manning is President of Americans for Limited Government