EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

November 3, 2013

Your view: Letters to the editor

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — Brewery laws needan update

To the editor:

I am a craft beer brewer in Haverhill, working with The Tap Brewing Company to create local jobs and expand our reach. I am proud of our products we offer at The Tap and love sharing our beer with our customers and friends.

However, there is a common hurdle that all small brewers are facing and it’s impeding our ability to grow our businesses. That issue is the outdated law unfairly binding breweries to wholesalers, who act as the middleman between a brewery and retail establishments. This 40-year-old law created a process for the governance of relationships between distributors and brewers. The problem is it was written before craft brewers like Sam Adams, Harpoon, Ipswich Ale, Haverhill Brewery or the more than 50 other craft brewers in Massachusetts even existed. It is time to update the law to reflect the current state of the beer business, not its status from when the law was written in 1971.

Small brewers are struggling to compete with the two gigantic international brewers that represent eight out of every 10 beers sold in Massachusetts. Anheuser-Busch/InBev and Miller-Coors control close to 90 percent of the market nationally and here at home. Small brewers have to fight for the attention of the wholesaler against these two behemoths to get our beer on the shelves of your local package store. We are different from Budweiser or Miller-Coors and we ask that state law recognize the disparities to allow Massachusetts craft brewers to grow and create jobs.

H 267, a bill filed on the state level, amends the existing dispute resolution process so that we can have some accountability in our lopsided relationships with wholesalers, yet still protects the wholesaler. It is illogical and based on an antiquated law for the state to tether me or any brewer like me to the wrong business partner. It hurts my business.

Members of the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure will be voting on H 267 on Nov. 12 at the Statehouse. That’s the first step in getting this bill passed.

I am from Haverhill and want to continue to create jobs here in the Merrimack Valley. If you enjoy being able to purchase your favorite craft beer at your local package store, then you should urge your representatives and senators to also support H 267.

Jon Curtis

Head Brewer

The Tap Brewing Company


Nation is tired of tea party

To the editor:

“There are no winners here.”

Harsh words, and they were uttered by president Barack Obama after signing the agreement Oct. 16 that ended the tea party Republican-instigated federal government shutdown. Sixteen days of layoffs affecting 800,000 federal employees, closed facilities, neglected national security procedures and a financial loss of over $24 billion was finally over, as Texas’ bedtime-story savant Ted Cruz and his like-minded gang of GOP malcontents and crybabies finally gave in to the inevitable.

The Republican Party lost again, just as they did during the two similar shutdowns during Bill Clinton’s presidency back in 1995-96. The court of public opinion has spoken, as after concatenating most polls between 63-80 percent of Americans and a whopping two-thirds of registered Republicans disagreed with the shutdown. And the prevailing, inarguable fact is that most American citizens across all political lines save for the ultra-right-wingers are sick and tired of the continuous hatred and gridlock demonstrated day after day from the conservative tea party faction of the present-day GOP. The sole purpose of this latest subterfuge was their attempt to derail the Affordable Care Act, the landmark Obamacare law that is opposed by nearly every GOP lawmaker in America.

But the ACA is simply the latest in a long line of necessary and successful ameliorations effected by the Democrats over the past five years that together have pulled us out of the rudderless morass we were ensconced in back in 2008. An amazing amount of positive legislation was unsuccessfully filibustered and denigrated ad nauseam over that period by Washington Republicans before Democratic passage, legislation that has placed America in the vastly-improved state that short-memoried citizens are taking for granted now. These include 2009’s Economic Stimulus Act, the GM/Chrysler bailouts, 2010s Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (which serves as a regulatory watchdog to prevent last decade’s housing, business and jobs failures from recurring), the wide expansion of hate crime protections, as well as the ACA.

Just Google “Obama’s top 50 accomplishments/Washington Monthly” for a memory refresher, a list that all Obama-bashers should either stay away from or just pretend doesn’t exist. And anyone still arguing about the necessity of the gradual implementation of Obamacare should check out the millions of families busily signing up for benefits on the online marketplace healthcare.gov, despite all the system problems and slowdowns that are currently being redressed. Or talk to some of the American families and our elderly who have already been enjoying the earliest benefits of the law since last year. And the good news is that the slowdowns and inaccessibility of the website should be fixed before the end of November, giving customers plenty of time to sign up for assistance.

Furloughs are over, parks are reopened and government funding is congress-approved through Jan. 15, with the option of continued federal borrowing through Feb. 7. If Cruz, John Cornyn, Jim Inhofe and the rest of these quixotic “leaders” have their way we can all look forward then to another tug-of-war between America’s financial solvency and tea party Republicans, in their continuous efforts to drag us all back to the past before the November 2014 elections. All in the name of hindering a president whom they have hated more and more with each successful legislative gain his administration has made, by a ragtag movement that wouldn’t even exist if John McCain had won election in 2008.

William F. Klessens